With first place in the ACC Atlantic Divison on the line, NC State is leading the defending national champions by four points at halftime. Up 21-17 at halftime in Raleigh, the Wolfpack will have to be ready to find a way to finish this game on a strong note against Clemson.
NC State got the party started early with Tim Kidd-Glass coming up with an interception of Kelly Bryant on the third play of the game. Setting up the Wolfpack offense at the Clemson 40-yard line, NC State wasted no time taking advantage of the early turnover. Ryan Finley completed a 40-yard pass for a touchdown to Kelvin Harmon for the early 7-0 lead. Clemson’s offense could not get much going on their next possession and ended a five-play drive with a punt, but the Tigers defense came through with a quick three-and-out. It was at this point Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud ripped off an impressive 77-yard punt return for a touchdown to even things at 7-7.
NC State and Clemson then exchanged 12-play touchdown drives to keep things even at 14-14. NC State responded once more with another strong touchdown drive with Finley finding plenty of success through the air. The drive ended with a touchdown pass to Jaylen Samuels to go up 21-14. Clemson cut into the lead with a field goal. The Tigers added another field goal in the final seconds as the teams went to the locker room at halftime to create the one-point game. NC State had missed a field goal on their final possession of the half.
The winner of this game will take first place in the ACC Atlantic Division, which likely means the winner of this game will end up playing for the ACC championship. For Clemson, the fourth team in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, the stakes are a bit higher at the moment as well. There has never been a two-loss conference champion in the four-team playoff. Of course, NC State is hoping to become the first as well.
The Miami Hurricanes are set to embark on their 14th season as a member of the ACC since moving over from the old Big East. The Hurricanes were brought in to the ACC to help give the football product a boost, but Miami has yet to play for an ACC championship. Could that drought end this season?
Miami was chosen as the ACC’s Coastal Division favorite by the preseason poll at ACC media days. The Hurricanes edged out defending Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech for the top preseason spot in the division. With Mark Richt gearing up for his second season on the job at Miami, the expectations continue to rise as he tries to emulate some of the success he had at Georgia in the SEC. Considering the ACC’s Coastal Division tends to be a division up for grabs the last few years, why not Miami this season?
In the Atlantic Division, the preseason poll is heavy on Florida State, with defending ACC and national champion Clemson coming in second place behind the Seminoles. Florida State is being hyped as a top playoff contender for the 2017 season, and the preseason poll out of the ACC seems to support that thought pretty well. Florida State will open the season with a bang against Alabama in Atlanta. If all goes according to plan, it could end up being a preview of a future playoff or national championship game this season.
Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was chosen as the preseason ACC player of the year, easily outpacing the next man in line, Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois.
- Florida State – 118
- Clemson – 35
- Louisville – 7
- (tie) Virginia Tech – 3
(tie)Miami – 3
- Duke – 1
(First place votes in parenthesis)
- Florida State (121) – 1,108
- Clemson (37) – 1,007
- Louisville (9) – 843
- NC State – 658
- Wake Forest – 415
- Syracuse – 362
- Boston College – 283
(First place votes in parenthesis)
- Miami (103) – 1,065
- Virginia Tech (40) – 932
- Georgia Tech (9) – 708
- Pitt (7) – 673
- North Carolina (4) – 606
- Duke (4) -473
- Virginia -219
ACC Player of the Year
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – 113
- Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State – 23
- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – 11
- Harold Landry, DE, Boston College – 8
- Jaylen Samuels, AP, NC State – 7
- Eric Dungey, QB, Syracuse – 2
- (tie) Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami – 1
(tie) Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami – 1
(tie) Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – 1