North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. No. 3 Clemson Tigers (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 15th, 2016. 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Memorial Stadium Clemson, S.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NCSU +17/CLEM -17
Over/Under Total: TBA
In the last couple of weeks, the no. 3 Clemson Tigers have emerged as the team that most people expected to see on the college gridiron in 2016. After a slow start that was highlighted by struggles against Auburn and Troy, the Tigers have caught fire in recent weeks with a dismantling of Georgia Tech on the Thursday night stage, followed by the big win over no. 5 Louisville with College GameDay on hand, and then another blowout last week over Boston College in front of a nationally televised audience. Clemson now has momentum and confidence as they look to stay unbeaten this Saturday when the take on a division foe in North Carolina State at Memorial Stadium in Death Valley.
The Tigers will enter Saturday’s game as 17 point favorites over the 4-1 North Carolina State Wolfpack. Clemson has also covered the mark in their last 4 games after that slow start to the season. Last week, Clemson’s surging offense took on the nation’s #1 ranked defense in Boston College on the road in Chestnut Hill on a Friday night. It was the perfect spot for Clemson to have a letdown performance following the big win against Louisville against an extremely tough defense. However, the Tigers sent a clear message to the rest of the nation that they are legitimate National Championship contenders.
The Clemson offense that finally awoke in the Louisville game bounced back for possibly an even more impressive performance. The Tigers racked up over 500 yards of total offense against Boston College’s top ranked defense in a 56-10 shellacking. Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 266 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 picks while tailback Wayne Gallman rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on just 9 carries. It was the 2nd week in a row both Watson and Gallman played great. Earlier in the year, both guys got off to slow starts which is largely why this team struggled early on. However, Watson has returned to his premier status as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks and we are starting to see the rest of the offense follow suit.
If Clemson can keep firing on all cylinders on offense, they are going to be extremely tough to defense. This week they get a home game against a rising North Carolina State group that is playing well on both sides of the ball. The Wolfpack moved to 4-1 last week with a 10-3 win over Notre Dame in a monsoon that was caused by Hurricane Matthew. It was a pretty impressive performance because the Wolfpack simply outmanned the Fighting Irish with physical toughness as the weather conditions prevented any type of reliant passing attack. Despite being a team that had moved the ball better through the air, the Wolfpack showed their versatility and physical toughness.
Luckily for North Carolina State, weather conditions should be much better this weekend meaning the offense can rely on the arm of quarterback Ryan Finley more often. Finley has been great this season completing nearly 70% of his passes while throwing for 9 touchdowns. Finley has also yet to throw his first interception this season. If Finley can make some throws early, perhaps they can get Matthew Dayes involved in the running game. However, Clemson is very talented along the defensive front so they will be ready for the running game. Finley has to hit some early throws to get the defense on their heels and perhaps the rest of the offense can open up at that point. A few big plays from the Wolfpack and this game could get interesting.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: North Carolina State has a solid defense which has a bit more speed than Boston College. Therefore, there is hope that the Wolfpack can keep this game competitive. However, I just do not believe it will be enough for this Clemson team that is starting to get big plays from everyone on offense. Take Clemson -17
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