by Mike Potter
CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State has three major motivations as the Wolfpack hosts No. 7 Clemson on one of those beautiful fall days for football.
1. It’s homecoming.
2. It’s the annual “Textile Bowl,” and
3. If State doesn’t win today, this will be its only bowl game this season.
Should State pull off the big upset and then win one more, the guess here is a trip to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27.
But first things first.
And what happens is one of the biggest shockers in college football this season, not that the Wolfpack just wins but that the 37-13 contest is an utter annihilation.
Clemson gets three quick points on the board on Chandler Catanzaro’s 24-yard field goal at 6:50 of the first.
And the rest of the first half is all Wolfpack.
With 11:35 left in the half, Mike Glennon completes an 11-yard pass to George Bryan to complete a seven-play, 61-yard drive.
At 10:33, Glennon hits Jay Smith for a seven-yard TD on the second play after Terrell Manning recovers a Tahj Boyd fumble at the Tiger 6.
At 7:26, Niklas Sade boots a 21-yard field goal five plays after Manning recovers a Mike Bellamy fumble at the Tiger 18.
At 4:58, Tony Creecy goes in from four yards out two plays after T.J. Graham’s 33-yard punt return to the Clemson 11.
And Sade kicks a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds to make it 27-3, the boot set up by Glennon’s 36-yard pass to Tobais Palmer.
The teams trade field goals early in the third, with Sade booting a 21-yarder and Catanzaro responding from 32, before the Wolfpack gets the killer blow on Glennon’s 43-yard scoring pass to Palmer at the 5:41 mark.
From there it becomes a defensive struggle, with interceptions from David Amerson — to tie the ACC season record at 11 — and Brandan Bishop stifling the Tigers before a perfunctory Bellamy 2-yard scoring run with 1:22 left.
Glennon completes 19 of 29 passes for 253 yards and three TDs without an interception. James Washington rushes for 86 yards and catches four passes for 44, while Creecy rushes for 65 and a TD.
Graham catches four passes for 54 yards and surpasses the ACC’s career kickoff-return yardage mark, while Palmer catches three for 82 yards and a TD and Bryan three for 35 and a TD.
Manning is a monster on defense, with eight tackles including 3 ½ for losses, two fumbles recovered and one forced.
Clemson’s Boyd completes 21 of 34 passes for 238 and the two interceptions, while DeAndre Hopkins catches five for 124.
They said it …
State coach Tom O’Brien: “Offensively we did what we had to do. We thought we could get some opportunities if we could protect the (QB) and I think Michael (Glennon) had a great night throwing the football and picking out the right guys. … The biggest thing is, how are we going to come next week? That’s the question that has to be answered right now. We can’t have a big win and then not play the next week. The focus is already on getting ready to play next week against (2-8) Maryland.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: “I’m obviously disappointed with the way we played, really embarrassed. It was a really poor job of coaching, poor playing, everything else involved and there’s no excuse. They wanted it more than we did, and it’s that simple.”
Glennon: “This was a big win for us against a Top 10 team that had only lost one game. But this means nothing if we don’t win next week. Our goal is to make it to a bowl game.”
Manning: “I’m happy. It’s a great feeling to be out there controlling a game like that. (Clemson has) a pretty good offense and they’ll show that again. Just not today.”
What does it all mean?
That State will go to a bowl game — seriously, we think the Belk Bowl in Charlotte — if it can dispose of 2-8 Maryland next week.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Art Norman’s sack of Boyd and Manning’s fumble recovery to set up the Pack’s second TD.
Clemson leads 51-28-1.
State: Won 1.
Clemson: Lost 1.
State vs. Maryland, Nov. 26, 12:30 p.m.
Clemson at South Carolina, Nov. 26, 7:45 p.m.