Thursday, November 4, 2010

Clemson vs NC State - By The Numbers

North Carolina State travels down to Death Valley with a 6-2 (3-1) record on the season. The Pack are riding high after 28-24 win over Florida State at home.  Head Coach, Tom O'Brien, has put togther his best season at the helm guiding the Pack into a prime position to claim their first ACC - Atlantic Division title.
The Wolfpack's potent offense is lead by dual threat quarterback, Russell Wilson, who has tossed for 29 touchdowns and ran for another 5 touchdowns.  Despite having excellent wheels, Wilson, definitely looks to pass first (and second) and is almost too reluctant to run the football.  Offensive Coordinator, Dana Bible, does an effective job of designing plays to get the ball to State’s playing making receivers while mixing in throws to the tightends and to runningbacks.  State’s offense is at or near the top of the league in both total offense, passing offense and scoring offense and will be the most prolific attack the Tiger’s have faced since Auburn. State's biggest weakness on offense it is their high risk, but high reward passing game especially on hot reads, which has lead to a high number of turnovers.

NC State20092010NET +/-'10 NCAA Rank10' ACC Rank
Rushing Offense120.92142.8821.04748
Passing Offense272.92295.7522.83151
Total Offense393.84438.6344.79251
Scoring Offense30.3335.004.77202
TO Per Game2.081.86.32

The Tigers look to rebound after an embarrassing loss to Boston College that put the Tiger's at 4-4 (2-3) on the season. Offensively the Tiger's have just been bad for much of the season. There is really no other way to put it at this point in the season. The passing game has been pathetic. Kyle Parker has obviously regressed since last season. The WR are still dropping passes and failing to separate and get open with any sort of consistency.

Their simple isn’t a lot of encouraging news. The offense still lacks an identity and has become predictable to the point that the opposing teams have been heard calling out our plays at the line of scrimmage. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this teams throws 90+% of the time out of the Shotgun and runs 90+% of the time out of the I-Formation.

To make matter worse, starting tailback and ACC Player of the Year candidate, Andre Ellington, is out for at least the next two games with a strained ligament in his toe. Jaron Brown one of the Tiger's two primary WR is also expect to miss this weekend's game.  Jamie Harper will get the bulk of the carries and Rod McDowell will provide relief in place of Ellington.

Clemson20092010NET +/-'10 NCAA Rank10' ACC Rank
Rushing Offense170.36164.25-6.11406
Passing Offense192.00177.88-14.227210
Total Offense362.36342.13-20.23739
Scoring Offense31.1427.75-3.39477
TO Per Game1.711.38-0.33

The Pack defense is playing much better this year after being decimated by injuries for the last two seasons.  The Pack are allowing over 7 fewer points this season and the biggest reason for the improvement is the play of the linebackers lead by Nate Irving and the creative blitz scheme designed by John Tenuta who has always been a constant thorn in Clemson's side. 

Outside of the linebackers, State is pretty pedestrian especially in the secondary, which can be exploited for big plays in the passing game.  This is definitely still a team that can be scored on, but the year over year improvement is obvious.

NC State20092010NET +/-'10 NCAA Rank10' ACC Rank
Rushing Defense139.08152.0012.9246
Passing Defense222.17201.25-6.11809
Total Defense361.25353.25-20.92228
Scoring Defense31.1723.75-7.426510
TO Per Game1.172.341.17

The Tigers continued to trend in the right direction after a decent overall performance against Boston College.  The Tiger’s struggled early and got pounded up the gut with run game to the tune of 16 points in the first half, but bounced back in the second half and stymied the Eagle offense allowing zero points and only couple first downs.  The defense has been the most consistent unit on the team and has been playing at a high level the last few weeks.  In order for Clemson to have a chance this week this unit is going to have to play their most complete game of the season.

Clemson20092010NET +/-'10 NCAA Rank10' ACC Rank
Rushing Defense151.50158.757.25708
Passing Defense162.79188.1325.34363
Total Defense314.29346.8832.59517
Scoring Defense20.4318.13-2.30222
TO Per Game2.141.75-0.39

Positional Breakdown

QB – Advantage NCSU
RB – Advantage NCSU (with Ellington on the shelf)
WR – Advantage NCSU
OL – Push

DL – Advantage Clemson
LB – Advantage NCSU
DB – Advantage Clemson

Special Teams - NCSU

Coaching – Advantage NCSU

This is a game that Clemson has to win. The masses are starting to get restless and Swinney's seat is starting to get warm. A loss at home to the Pack will only strengthen criticism. The biggest factor working in Clemson’s favor is that the game is at home. The Tiger’s have played much better football in Memorial Stadium and NC State has had a couple of uninspired performances on the road against UCF and ECU.

On paper, NC State is clearly better right now and everything is pointing towards them coming into Death Valley and notching their first victory of the Clemson since Phillip Rivers was leading the Pack, but my heart says Clemson rights the ship and pulls off a win because that is what Clemson does. Clemson always seemed to bounce back when their backs are against the wall and Saturday certainly qualifies.

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