It hasn't exactly been an easy road for the Wolfpack to start this season. NC State ended up defeating East Carolina, 21-20, to start the season, in a game that they easily could've lost. They are getting average play out of QB Devin Leary, who's thrown nine touchdowns and two interceptions but has a QBR of 48.5. The protection has been really good for Leary, but he hasn't been very consistent with his play, which is a bit surprising to start the season.
The run game has been much better behind RB Demie Sumo-Karngbaye. He's rushed 39 times for 252 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry through four games this season. The Wolfpack have averaged over 400 yards on the offensive end and have held teams to 261.5 yards per game on the defensive end, letting up just 11.8 points per game. In fact, opposing teams are getting under 180 yards per game in the air and just over 80 yards on the ground.
This is an overall great team, but they have some issues they need to clean up. The tackling could be better, and Leary needs to play better on the offensive end.
The Tigers escaped Wake Forest last week with a 51-45 double-overtime winner. Clemson has averaged 458.5 yards per game on the offensive end and allowed nearly 350 yards on the defensive end, which is very unlike this school. QB DJ Uiagalelei has thrown ten touchdowns and one interception through four games this season, and he's thrown over 1000 passing yards. Uiagalelei has looked much better to start the season this year than last year, and he's sitting at 66-1 to win the Heisman if you want to take a shot.
RB Will Shipley is one of the biggest reasons why this offense has started to work. He's rushed 52 times for 353 yards and seven touchdowns so far. He's doing this with an offensive line that hasn't blocked well against the run, which is even more remarkable. Uiagalelei and Shipley have played exceptionally well to start the year, and Clemson has an offense that many didn't think they would have.
Defensively, Clemson has been alright. The Tigers have allowed under 80 yards rushing and have kept teams to 267 yards per game in the air. They had to play one of the best passing offenses in the country last week, so that didn't help their numbers. The coverage didn't play very well, but Clemson will be much better defensively against most teams in the ACC.
I don't really want to take a side in this game, but if I had to, I would take Clemson. My favorite bet on this game is probably the under, because the Wolfpack defense has been great, but their offense has been average at best. I don't see Clemson putting up huge numbers on this defense, but I also don't see NC State's offense doing much either.