Clemson (9-1, 6-1) tries to keep its BCS dreams alive as they travel to Carter-Finley Stadium to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-5, 2-4). Clemson is coming off a three-point win over Wake Forest, while NC State lost to Boston College on Saturday.
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m. EST
Listen: WZMJ 93.1 FM (Clemson) or WWNC 570 AM (NC State)
Live Streaming Audio: Clemson Tigers Sports Network
Betting Line: Clemson -8
Who Might Not Play for Clemson: WR Sammy Watkins
Watkins sustained a shoulder injury against Wake Forest last week and is listed as probable for Saturday's game. He can't afford a setback because the offense wouldn't survive without him. He's caught 68 passes for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Watkins also returns kicks.
Who Might Not Play for NC State: G R.J. Mattes
NC State enters the game pretty healthy, so injuries won't be a major factor for them. Mattes missed last week's game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for this week's game. He would add some nice depth to the offensive line, if healthy.
Key Storyline: Can NC State pull of the upset?
The Wolfpack are still looking for a marquee win to define their season. They lost by 10 against Georgia Tech earlier in the season and have been riding a roller coaster ever since. It will take a complete effort to overcome a high-powered Clemson side.
There is some added motivation for NC State since it needs one more win to become bowl-eligible. Clinching that status while also destroying Clemson's BCS hopes would be a perfect scenario for the Wolfpack.
Clemson currently ranks seventh in the BCS and, like every other team in the top 10, can't afford any losses this deep in the season. With a game against South Carolina and the ACC Championship Game still to come, they could move up inside the top five.
What They're Saying
Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has been trying to keep his team focused as the regular season wears down. The one name he keeps bringing up is Michael Jordan and how he was expected to bring his 'A' game every night (via Associated Press).
“I’m a big basketball guy and to me Michael Jordan is the epitome of a competitor,” Swinney said Tuesday. “And he was expected to be the best player on the court every game. This guy was so mentally strong and focused at being the best and not being satisfied.”
Wolfpack defensive coordinator Mike Archer is a big fan of Clemson QB Tajh Boyd. During his meeting with the media, Archer went out of his way to praise Boyd and how he handles every situation that may arise during a game (via Rivals.com).
This offense is their own separate entity. He's the key, he's the catalyst that drives it. He throws it but he also runs it. He keeps the chains moving, I think that's the most impressive thing—when they need a short yardage run, he can carry the football just like a running back. To me, he's done a good job of leading their offense.
Clemson Player To Watch: RB Andre Ellington
Even though Boyd and Watkins steal all the headlines, Ellington has held up his end of the bargain. The junior running back is averaging nearly five yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns. He has also caught 15 passes.
NC State Player To Watch: QB Mike Glennon
If the Wolfpack have any hope of pulling off a shocker, Glennon is going to need to play out of his mind. The 6'6'' junior has thrown 20 touchdowns and is completing 62 percent of his passes. He must limit his mistakes (10 interceptions) on Saturday.
Key Matchup: WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. Wolfpack secondary
Hopkins and Dwayne Allen have a very important job every week. They must provide some semblance of an alternative in the passing game so opposing defenses can't shade two or three players in Watkins' direction. NC State's secondary must be in top form if they want to keep it close.
Prediction: Clemson 34, NC State 24