Scouting N.C. State: how the Wolfpack wins

Hope for a lapse, don't turn it over, win third down

N.C. State's David Amerson breaks up a pass intended for Clemson's Adam Humphries in the endzone.

N.C. State's David Amerson breaks up a pass intended for Clemson's Adam Humphries in the endzone.

Scouting N.C. State: how the Wolfpack wins

1. Hope to catch the Tigers napping: Over the course of a long season, Clemson has done a remarkable job of at maintaining short-term, game-by-game, play-by-play focus. Those habits, drilled in every day by the Clemson coaching staff, are well-rooted. But even the most disciplined team is susceptible to occasional lapses, and N.C. State will be hoping to catch the Tigers looking ahead to their showdown Thanksgiving weekend against South Carolina. If the Tigers leave the door cracked, the Wolfpack is talented enough to take advantage - as Clemson learned the hard way a year ago.

2. Don't turn it over: The Wolfpack has been a bit loose with the football this season, and nothing will turn the game in Clemson's favor as quickly as a couple of early turnovers. Playing at Death Valley, opponents can't afford to give the Tigers anything.

3. Beat the Tigers at their own game: State and Clemson like to do many of the same things offensively, and whoever executes best could have the upper hand. Clemson leads the ACC in two tell-tale areas: third-down conversions and red zone offense. N.C. State ranks second in both. If the Wolfpack can out-perform the Tigers on third down and in the red zone, they'll give themselves a chance. State ranks second in the ACC in third-down conversion defense.

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