There was no hurricane around but both N.C. State and Clemson played as sloppily as if there was one in a low scoring first half from Death Valley that ended up with the Tigers taking a late 10-3 lead into the locker room.
While Wolfpack did have their moments, penalties were the name of the game for them as they committed a whopping nine of them through two quarters. That was one reason why promising drives stalled and a few big plays were wasted in the team’s upset bid on the road at the No. 3 team in the country.
NCSU quarterback Ryan Finley threw his first interception of the season but the offense still averaged seven yards a play against a stingy defense loaded with future NFL talent. The biggest play of the game for the Wolfpack came on the other side of the ball however as they stuffed Clemson on fourth and goal from the one yard line.
Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled with downfield throws but did manage to get going on the final drive the team found the end zone on an impressive effort before halftime. The signal-caller finished with 173 yards through the air on 18 completions but really got hot late by going 8-of-9. Wideout Hunter Renfrow returned to action with a cast on his hand after sitting out the past few weeks with an injury.
Most concerning was the status of running back Wayne Gallman, who took a scary hit to the side of the head early in the first quarter and fumbled the ball as he went down quickly, having to be helped off the field with the assistance of trainers. He eventually headed to the locker room and didn’t return to the game.
While many had thought Clemson turned the corner after beating Louisville and throttling Boston College on the road, the close score and strong play from N.C. State could make for an interesting second half of ACC play.