Scouting N.C. State: how the Tigers win

Protect and pressure, cover multiple receivers, attack the secondary

Maryland's Shawn Petty is sacked Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey and defensive tackle DeShawn Williams during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Maryland's Shawn Petty is sacked Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey and defensive tackle DeShawn Williams during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Scouting N.C. State: how the Tigers win

1. Win the line of scrimmage: N.C. State leads the ACC in sacks with 2.78 per game. But the Wolfpack ranks 11th in the conference in sacks allowed, giving up 3.33 per contest. Clemson can put itself on a winning path by winning the up-front battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage - protecting Tajh Boyd and pressuring Mike Glennon. There's a good chance the ACC's two most prolific passing attacks will have a big say in the outcome.

2. Cover the whole field: N.C. State, like Clemson, spreads the ball all over the yard, employing multiple wide receivers, throwing to backs, and taking shots down the field. Dabo Swinney said last week that the Tiger secondary has cut down on its 'busts,' but is still vulnerable to technique breakdowns at times. Sound secondary play will be essential in shutting down the Wolfpack attack.

3. Prey on the weak: Nearly across the board, N.C. State's statistical ranking in the ACC is solid - with one glaring exception. The Wolfpack, despite having one of the ACC's best DBs in ball-hawking David Amerson, ranks dead last in pass defense, giving up a 60.2 completion percentage, 8.1 yards per passing attempt, and 269.2 yards per game. If the Tigers can beat those numbers - as they have, on average, all season - they'll be hard to beat.

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