After opening the season with a neutral-site contest in Charlotte and two games at Death Valley, Clemson will face its first true road test of the season on Saturday, Sept. 25, when the Tigers face the North Carolina State Wolfpack in Raleigh. The kickoff at Carter-Finley Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.
"Lots of experience with this team they're incredibly well-coached. They play hard play tough play smart," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "And, you know, the two in one Mississippi State was a tough game for them—the opening kickoff return for a touchdown. And then, and then NC State had three turnovers. So otherwise, that's a, that's a tight game they gave up 17 points."
Saturday's game will resume the Textile Bowl rivalry between Clemson and NC State, which was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to 2020 (when the ACC did not place NC State on Clemson's pandemic-adjusted schedule), the Tigers and Wolfpack had played each other every season since 1971. Clemson holds a 59-28-1 lead in the all-time series against NC State, including a 22-16 lead in road games. Clemson's success against NC State has been particularly pronounced in recent years, as Clemson has won 15 of the last 16 games in the series.
"And, you know, a very good team, very good team. So but for us. I'm excited," Swinney said. "I'm excited to see us play a true road game, and you know see how we accept the challenge. It's a tough place to play. And we're gonna have to have a great week of preparation, and we got to play well know, it's that simple. You know we got to play well in all three phases.
"And if we do that, then, you know, we'll have a chance to win the game. If we don't, it's gonna be a long day. So, we'll start with a great week of practice and, again, looking forward to it...I can assure you we don’t stink. We’re going to be all right. We’re going to be all right.
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"We gotta stop turning the ball over though. I can tell you that."
Clemson's defense has carried the Tigers early in the 2021 season. Clemson has not surrendered a touchdown defensively all year, marking the first time Clemson has gone three consecutive games without allowing an offensive touchdown since 1990. It marks the first time Clemson has accomplished the feat across the first three games of a season since 1950, when Clemson shut out Presbyterian, Missouri and NC State to open that campaign.
"Well its maturity, its experience. It's pride in performance," Swinney said. "You know, I mean, with 20 guys coming into the season that have started for us–so very very experienced group, a very deep talented group. It's a lot of competition. A lot of competition. And so they got a lot of pride in their performance, and they want to they want, they're, you know, they're not just satisfied with, with, you know, winning the game. I mean they want to dominate."
Swinney on Lyn-J Dixon entering transfer portal:
"His decision. He wanted to get a head start on the portal to wish him well. And he decided to make that move. Yeah, it surprised me. I mean we're in the middle of the season but in 2021 I guess nothing should be a surprise. It's kind of, you know, where we are. I doubt we're the only school in the country. In 2021 That said, some might go into the portal."
Swinney on Tyler Davis
"Tyler Davis had surgery this morning. So, keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He's, you know it's a big loss for us. Man he was playing great football. What an incredible effort from him in this past game and just super proud of him and look forward to getting him back. No, he'll come back better than ever."