The Textile Bowl and continued control of ACC Atlantic Division destiny will be at stake in front of the eyes of the nation on Saturday, Oct. 1 when the No. 5 Clemson Tigers host the No. 10 NC State Wolfpack on ABC's Saturday Night Football. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday's game will be the first in the series to feature both teams in the AP Top 10. The Tigers and Wolfpack have previously met five times with both teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including Clemson wins in 1991, 2017 and 2018 and NC State victories in 1986 and 1992. The lower-ranked team took each of the first three meetings until higher-ranked Clemson squads earned wins in 2017 and 2018.
Zach Lentz: The Clemson defense has come under a lot of fire after their performance last week at Wake Forest--expect them to play significantly better this week after having their manhood questioned. The offense has lived up to the expectations of a Tiger offense, and offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter opened up the playbook last week, showing the jet sweep and orbit motion that Tiger fans had been wishing to see--along with an increased presence by the tight ends. I fully believe the Tigers make a massive statement this week, and show Lee Corso who the "overrated team" is.
Clemson 31 NC State 20
Jason Priester: These two teams don't like each other very much so this one has all the makings of a true slugfest. This will be a true test for this Clemson offense, as the Wolfpack defense is every bit as good as advertised. Rushing yards could be at a premium, meaning the Tigers are going to need DJ Uiagalelei and that passing game to make some plays. On the other side of the ball, expect a much better performance from Wes Goodwin's defense than was seen against Wake Forest. NC State keeps it close, but these are the kinds of games Clemson doesn't lose.
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Clemson 26 NC State 20
Will Vandervort: I know Clemson's defense looked bad last week, but NC State's wide receivers are not the same as Wake Forest's. Does the Wolfpack have some playmakers that can cause the Tigers some issues on defense? Absolutely they do. However, there is not as many, and NC State's style of play is not the same. On the flip side, NC State's defense is WAY better than Wake's. Moving the ball will not be as easy against an aggressive Wolfpack defense that loves to take the running game away and force the quarterback to beat them. This has all the makings of a defensive struggle. Luckily for Clemson, it has B.T. Potter kicking field goals.
Clemson 20, NC State 17
Brad Senkiw: It's so cliché to say this game will be decided in the trenches, but I'm going to do it anyway. This game will be decided in the trenches. NC State wants to confuse Clemson's offense with its exotic blitzes. Clemson wants to get after Wolfpack QB Devin Leary and not even allow him to throw accurately on a struggling secondary. Which side will give the most up front? This is the best defensive front the Tigers have faced, but Clemson's defense, at home in this atmosphere, it's their time to shine. As long as the Tigers avoid the big mistake or turnover, they'll find a way in front of the home crowd to eek one out.
Clemson 27, NC State 23