#6 Clemson Tigers @ #20 North Carolina State Wolfpack
Carter-Finley Stadium – Raleigh, NC
#6 Clemson Tigers (38) – #20 North Carolina State (31)
Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell’s torrid season showing no signs of stopping
Ferrell is a youthful (RS Sophomore) budding star along a defensive front loaded with top NFL talent. Ferrell was a monster against the Wolfpack on Saturday, as he ran up a sack and 5 full tackles for loss to bring his season splits to 6.5/12.5. Ferrell has been his absolute best this year when the Tigers have needed him most: all but 1 of Ferrell’s 12.5 TFL have come in Clemson’s three closest games (narrow wins against NC State and Auburn, plus the loss to Syracuse). With the toughest portions of the Tigers’ schedule behind them (save a date in the ACC Championship Game), the team appears poised for another CFB Playoff berth. With it would bring the national stage needed for Ferrell’s name to generate a lot of positive momentum entering a possible declaration window.
The 6’5, 260 lbs defensive end was a personal favorite over the course of the summer and he’s living up to the billing of being a potential top draft target with his ability to play with length, mobility and motor.
The better QB on this day wore red and white (NC State QB Ryan Finley)
At the final whistle, Kelly Bryant won the war and collected a “W”. But Ryan Finley won the battle of the QBs, impressing against a stout Clemson defense to the tune of 338 yards passing, another 35 yards on the ground and accounting for 3 TDs. Yes, Finley’s incredible interception free streak had ended the week before and the passer threw two against the Tigers. But Finley had control of this passing offense much like he’s done all year. After all, his final interception came in the final seconds on a 4th and 15 play just outside the Clemson 30. The ball needed to come out in this situation, a risk was needed if the Wolfpack were going to climb even and win the game.
Finley is an impressive rhythm passer, but it’s important to note he doesn’t panic when the timing of plays is thrown off, as is the case with many passers of his mold. Instead, Finley is capable of making some things happen in the pocket while still having the wherewith-all to live for another down.
This was a big test for Finley, coming off a tough go against the Fighting Irish. Finley still has another year of eligibility left and his arm strength can leave something to be desired. But his between the ears resume is some of the most impressive we’ve seen this year.
NC State DE Bradley Chubb is petty as hell and you should love it
You’ve probably noticed that Bradley Chubb is a really, really good football player by now. If your favorite team is picking in the top 12-15 come the 2018 NFL Draft, get excited. Chubb is likely on the scope of reality. But did you know Chubb plays head games out there too? The kind of silly, petty head games that are so dumb that they actually do get the other team riled up?
Chubb has now gone out of his way to steal the opposing QB’s hand towel in two consecutive weeks after a play. Not only did Chubb swipe Kelly Bryant’s towel once, he went out and got it twice. The second time got under Bryant’s skin to the point where he deliberately followed Chubb trying to take it back.
Some will likely be turned off by the extra curriculars here but Chubb is a team leader who plays with great motor and finished a game in October in which his left ring finger was so grossly dislocated that it made the whole nation queasy.
Youth stars at skill positions for both sides
NC State WR Kelvin Harmon (8 rec. 155 yards, 1 TD), Clemson RB Tavien Feaster (7 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD), NC State WR Jakobi Meyers (9 rec. 105 yards, 1 TD) all had excellent performances. And they’re all sophomores. The future of both of these teams looks bright, as there was a lot of Sunday talent trotted out for this game that isn’t ready to make the jump for at least another season.