ACC Thursday Night College Football Picks: #3 Clemson Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack
#3 Clemson Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack
Carter-Finley Stadium – Raleigh, North Carolina
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Clemson -13
Current Line: Clemson -14
Opening Total: 66
Current Total: 66
Opening Money Line: Clemson -500 / NC State +390
Current Money Line: Clemson -550 / NC State +425
The #3 Clemson Tigers and North Carolina State Wolfpack are both 2-0 and coming off byes last week as they open ACC play against each other in Raleigh. Clemson leads the series 52-28-1, including 18-16 in Raleigh. Clemson won last year’s meeting in a shootout 62-48, and is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
Clemson, coached by Dabo Swinney goes on the road for the first time this season after home wins over then #5 Georgia 38-35 to open the season and 52-13 over South Carolina State two weeks ago. The Tigers are 1-1 ATS and both games have gone over the total. Clemson was a 52.5 point favorite against South Carolina State and the total was 62.5. Clemson jumped out to a 24-0 lead before SCSU even got on the board at 24-7. The Tigers would add two more touchdowns before halftime to go up 38-7. They would add two more second half touchdowns and the Bulldogs added a late touchdown that put the game over the total. However, they missed the extra point to make the final 52-13. Clemson had 512 total yards with 28 first downs. SCSU had just 241 total yards and 11 first downs. The Bulldogs had 3 turnovers including two pick sixes. Clemson had one.
Clemson is outscoring teams 45-24 this season. The Tigers are averaging 489.5 yards per game including 190 rushing yards. On defense, Clemson is allowing 393 total yards per game. The Tigers are +3 in turnovers with 5 takeaways. Clemson is 21-40 on third and fourth down conversions. Clemson has forced 7 sacks but has allowed 5 this season. The Tigers are 7/7 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd has completed 60.4% of his passes for 439 yards with 3 touchdowns and no picks, along with 19 carries for 53 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Roderick McDowell has 30 carries for 175 yards, along with 2 catches. Receiver Sammy Watkins has 9 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Charone Peak had 8 catches and a touchdown, but he is out for the season with a knee injury. Martavis Bryant, Germone Hopper and Adam Humphries will also get significant catches. Hopper has two touchdown catches. Four defensive players are listed as questionable or out Thursday night.
NC State is coached by Dave Doeren in his first year. The 2-0 Wolfpack have home wins over Louisiana Tech 40-14 and Richmond 23-21. NC State is 1-1 ATS and both games have gone under the total. The Wolfpack were 23.5 point favorites against Richmond and the total was 50.5. The Wolfpack were nearly spider-bitten by Richmond, as the Spiders took an early 21-10 lead. The Wolfpack would kick another field goal before halftime to make it 21-13 going into the locker room. NC State would pull to within 21-20 midway through the third and neither team would score again until the Wolfpack kicked a field goal with 33 seconds left to go up 23-21. Richmond drove to the NC State 37 but the Hail Mary attempt was incomplete, and the Wolfpack held off the upset bid. NC State had 444 total yards including 188 rushing yards. Richmond had 322 total yards including just 22 rushing yards. The game was sloppy on both sides as NC State had 4 turnovers and 10 penalties for 89 yards, while Richmond had 2 turnovers and 7 penalties for 61 yards.
North Carolina State is outscoring teams 31.5-17.5 this season. The Wolfpack are averaging 493 total yards per game including 212.5 rushing yards. NC State is allowing 318.5 yards per game on defense, including 79.5 rushing yards. The Wolfpack are +1 in turnovers with 6 takeaways. NC State is 18/35 on third and fourth down conversions. The Wolfpack are 9/11 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns.
Quarterback Pete Thomas has completed 67.2% of his passes for 449 yards and 3 interceptions, along with 11 carries for 45 yards. Back-up Bryant Shirreffs has the only touchdown pass for NC State and also has 13 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Running back Matt Dayes has 31 carries, 127 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 5 catches, 47 yards and a touchdown. Tony Creecy has 25 carries, 103 yards and a touchdown, along with 2 catches for 18 yards. Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has 12 catches for 174 yards. Rashard Smith has 12 catches for 145 yards.
Clemson is 5-0 ATS in road games, 4-0 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 8-1 in ACC games, 6-1 after gaining more than 450 yards, 4-1 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 7-2 after passing for more than 280 yards, 9-3 overall, 5-2 after scoring more than 40 points, and against teams with winning records, and 9-4 against teams with winning home records. The road team is 13-3 ATS in this series recently. The Tigers have covered 5 of the last 6 in Raleigh.
NC State is 9-1 ATS after a bye week, 5-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 4-1-1 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 5-2-2 after failing to cover, 10-4-1 at home, 1-5 after a straight up win, and 1-7-1 in September. The Wolfpack are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 against Clemson, and were underdogs in each of those games.
I am not sure North Carolina State can score enough to keep up with Clemson. One thing is certain, the Wolfpack must cut down on the turnovers and penalties for they will get destroyed by Clemson. The Wolfpack have played well on defense so far this season though. Still, I like Clemson to pull away late but NC State hangs around for 3 quarters.