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    Tyson Chandler blocks for Mike Glennon
    Tyson Chandler blocks for Mike Glennon
     

    Wolfpack Defense Must Contain Tigers

    Game 11: NC State Wolfpack (6-4, 3-3) vs. Clemson Tigers (9-1, 6-1)
    November 17, 2012 • 3:30 p.m. • ABC/ESPN2
    Clemson, S.C. • Memorial Stadium (81,500)

    PACK LOOKS FOR THE CIGAR AGAINST TIGERS
    NC State has not won a football game in Clemson’s Death Valley since 2002, when the Pack won 38-6.  However, in the four games played on the Tigers’ home field since then, the home team’s margin of victory has been a slim 7.75.  Close, but no cigar for the visiting Wolfpack.

    Last season, the Pack ended a seven-game losing streak versus the Tigers with a 37-13 upset.  Clemson was ranked seventh nationally at the time.  

    Clemson leads the all-time series against the Wolfpack,  51-28-1.

    THE TEXTILE BOWL
    Although not many of the players in uniform know about it, for the past 31 years (since 1981), the series between NC State and Clemson has been dubbed the Textile Bowl, as that industry has such a major economic impact on both states and both schools boast renowned textile colleges.

    The North Carolina textile manufacturers donate money to NC State’s scholarship fund every year in honor of the Wolfpack’s MVP from the game.

    GOING BOWLING
    For the fourth time in six years under Tom O’Brien and the third straight year, NC State will be heading to a postseason bowl in 2012.  The Wolfpack gained eligibility with its win over Wake Forest last weekend.

    O’Brien has now led his team to a bowl game in 11 of the 16 years he has been a head coach.

    BIG GUNS FACE OFF
    The Atlantic Coast Conference’s top two passers, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and NC State’s Mike Glennon, will square off against each other this weekend.  Boyd currently leads the league with 294.1 passing yards per game, while Glennon is close behind with a 291.0 yard average.

    PACK PLAYERS HEAD HOME
    NC State has a small, but important contingent of players who hail from the Palmetto State.  Leading wide receiver Quintin Payton hails from Anderson, S.C., just 18 miles down the road from Clemson.  

    Team captain Sterling Lucas is an Orangeburg native, while starting defensive tackle Thomas Teal is from Bennettsville.  

    Tight end Asa Watson is from Rock Hill, S.C., but he has strong ties to Clemson.  His sister, Karis, is a sophomore middle hitter for the Tiger volleyball team.

    Here’s a look at the members of the Pack who call South Carolina home:

    Hakeem Flowers, WR - Simpsonville
    Sterling Lucas, LB - Orangeburg
    Quintin Payton, WR - Anderson
    Mike Rose, DE - Fountain Inn
    Thomas Teal, DT - Bennettsville
    Asa Watson, TE - Rock Hill

    TOB VS. TOP
    When the nation’s top-ranked teams have faced a Wolfpack squad under Tom O’Brien, they usually aren’t ranked as high the following week.  NC State posts an 8-5 record against teams ranked in the top-25 under O’Brien.    


     

     

    The FSU game on Oct. 6 marked the second time that the Wolfpack has hosted a  top-10 foe at home during O’Brien’s tenure.  Seventh-ranked Clemson visited Carter-Finley last season and left with a 37-13 defeat at the hands of the Pack.

    MISSING RIGHT
    If you’re a superstitious person, you might not want to play on the right side of NC State’s offensive line.  Both veteran starters who began the season at the right guard and tackle spots have missed significant time with injuries, while the top backup is now out as well.

    Right guard Zach Allen had started 31 straight games at that position before suffering a season-ending foot injury at Miami.  Allen, the Pack’s leading run-blocker, was a seasoned veteran with 2,399 career snaps to his credit.

    Duran Christophe, who started a dozen games at left guard last season, took over for Allen when he went down.  However, he suffered a head injury in the Virginia game and had to sit out versus Wake Forest.  His status for the Clemson game is questionable.  

    Andrew Wallace, who started at guard in 2010 and missed most of last season with a knee injury, was the Pack’s starter at right tackle heading into 2012.  He started the first four contests this season before suffering a foot injury against the Citadel.  He sat out the next four games and reinjured his foot in practice last week.  He was listed as questionable before the Wake Forest game, but was able to come in and play at left guard.

    THERE’S NO RUSH
    Prior to Saturday’s win over Wake Forest, the Wolfpack’s rushing game had been woefully absent in the last four games - two of which were losses.  NC State averaged just 48 rushing yards per game in those contests.  In each of those four contests, the Pack rushed for less than 70 yards - that hasn’t happened since 1985, when the Pack rushed for less than 70 yards as a team in five straight contests.

    Three of those four opponents were ranked among the national leaders in rushing defense (Florida State, Maryland and North Carolina).

    The Pack is hopefully rushing in the right direction heading into the Clemson game, however, as the Pack’s 170 yards on the ground versus Wake Forest was the most since the Sept. 29 game at Miami.  A State player (Tony Creecy) scored on a rushing touchdown for the first time since that Miami game as well and another player (Shadrach Thornton) posted a 100-yard rushing output for the first time since the loss to the ‘Canes.

    At times this season, the Pack has looked impressive running the football.  Against the Citadel, the team gained 282 rushing yards - the team’s highest total since 2005.  In the next game, at Miami, State gained 224 rushing yards.  That marked the first time since 1998 that the Pack has posted back-to-back games with over 200 yards rushing.

    HOWDY DOWDY
    Prior to the 2012 season, red-shirt junior weakside linebacker Rickey Dowdy had played exactly one snap in his entire career.  That one snap came during the 2010 campaign and he did not see action in 2011.  In the season opener of 2012, he played 58 snaps, tallying seven tackles in the Pack’s loss to Tennessee.

    Now 10 games later, Dowdy is continuing to show improvement and now leads the team with 11.5 tackles for loss - a mark that ranks fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week.

    THIRD AND OUT
    When the Pack’s opposition gets to third down, their punter better be warming up.  NC State ranks second in the ACC and third nationally in third down conversion defense.  The Wolfpack is allowing its opponents to convert at just a 25.3 clip this season.

    In the last nine games, the Wolfpack defense has held the opponents to a .239 (29-121) percentage on third down conversions.  From late in the UConn game, until the 3rd quarter against The Citadel, opponents went 16 consecutive third downs without a conversion.  Florida State was converting exactly half of the time on third down coming into the game against a fired-up Pack defense that allowed them to convert just three of 15 third down attempts.

    On Sept. 15, Mike Archer’s defensive unit held South Alabama without a third or fourth down conversion on the game as the Jaguars finished 0-for-11 on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth. The last time NC State  had held a team without a third down conversion came in 1992, when the Pack forced Virginia Tech to an 0-for-12 mark, a span of 228 games.

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