High-powered Clemson pulls away from N.C. State in 2nd half, wins 56-41

Clemson's Artavis Scott (3) and Deshaun Watson celebrate Watson's touchdown Saturday in the first half.
Clemson's Artavis Scott (3) and Deshaun Watson celebrate Watson's touchdown Saturday in the first half. AP

No. 3 Clemson staved off an explosive first half by N.C. State’s offense to maintain its unblemished record in a 56-41 victory on Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium

The Wolfpack struck first, driving 75 yards in 2:23 and scoring a touchdown on a 13-yard run by quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Clemson blocked the extra point, making N.C. State’s lead 6-0.

The Tigers answered with a 24-yard touchdown scramble by quarterback Deshaun Watson just 1:14 later, and the two teams traded touchdowns over the next 49 seconds. N.C. State blocked the extra point following Clemson’s second touchdown, and the game was tied at 13 after just 12 offensive plays.

Clemson’s defense shut out N.C. State on its next two drives, and the Tigers seized a 19-13 advantage thanks to two field goals from Greg Huegel.

After Clemson punted for the first time midway through the second quarter, the Wolfpack jumped ahead 20-19 on a 40-yard touchdown reception by Jaylen Samuels.

N.C. State’s lead stayed intact until the Tigers snagged a 26-20 advantage with 40 seconds left in the first half on a 42-yard touchdown pass by Watson. Clemson never trailed again for the remainder of the game, as the Tigers’ offense erupted for 30 second-half points.

Three who mattered

Deshaun Watson: Clemson’s sophomore quarterback dominated through the air and on the ground, tallying five passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. He has 10 total touchdowns in two career games against the Wolfpack, and has now accounted for at least five total touchdowns twice in his career.

Wayne Gallman: Clemson’s redshirt sophomore tailback rushed for 60 yards in the first quarter and finished the game with 172 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown.

B.J. Goodson: Clemson’s redshirt senior linebacker consistently found his way into N.C. State’s backfield and tallied three tackles for loss. His strip sack of Jacoby Brissett in the second quarter led to a 44-yard field goal by Huegel, handing the Tigers a 16-13 lead.


▪ Both teams combined for three blocked extra points during Saturday’s game. The Tigers blocked the N.C. State’s extra point following its first touchdown, and the Wolfpack recorded a block in both the first and second halves.

▪ The Tigers’ defense kept the Wolfpack’s offense behind the chains for most of the game and forced multiple third-and-longs.

Worth mentioning

▪ After rushing for 72 yards on nine carries in the first half, N.C. State running back Matthew Dayes sat out the entire second half with a lower body injury.

▪ Entering Saturday’s game, Clemson had only allowed 13 first-quarter points all season. The Tigers surrendered 13 points to the Wolfpack within the first four minutes of Saturday’s contest.

▪ N.C. State receiver Nyheim Hines scored on a 100-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, giving the Wolfpack a 13-7 lead. His return placed him in a three-way tie for the longest in school history.

▪ Clemson has now won 11 of its past 12 games against N.C. State and five of its past six contests against the Wolfpack in Raleigh.

▪ After defeating N.C. State 41-0 in 2014, the Tigers have scored 40 or more points in back-to-back games against the Wolfpack for the first time since 1995-96.

They said it

“Back-to-back road wins are not easy. It’s not always going to be beautiful like last week. … We made enough mistakes to lose the game, but we made plenty of plays to win. I’m really proud of our football team. If you’re going to have a great year, you’ve got to win all kinds of different way, all kinds of ways. And so far this year, we’ve done it about all of them.” — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney on his team’s victory.

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