No. 3 Clem­son sur­vives NC State in OT thriller

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Pete Ia­co­belli

De­shaun Wat­son hit Ar­tavis Scott with a 10-yard touch­down pass in over­time and Mar­cus Edmond fin­ished it with an in­ter­cep­tion in the end zone as No. 3 Clem­son beat North Carolina State 24-17 on Satur­day.

The Tigers (7-0, 4-0 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence) looked all but done in reg­u­la­tion, but Kyle Bam­bard’s 33-yard field goal try as time ex­pired was wide right.

“I kind of looked up and I saw it started to sail, then I closed my eyes be­cause I couldn’t be­lieve it was ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing,” Clem­son de­fen­sive end Chris­tian Wilkins said. “I waited for the crowd to cheer. They messed up be­cause they gave us an­other chance.”

Clem­son took full ad­van­tage with Wat­son’s strike to Scott. Then Edmond reached high to grab a long throw down the mid­dle from NC State’s Ryan Fin­ley and Clem­son had es­caped with its path to the ACC title game and the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­offs still all clear.

It wasn’t the pret­ti­est game for Clem­son, which gave up 397 yards and turned it over four times — in­clud­ing Wat­son’s firstever pick six — to the Wolf­pack (4-2, 1-1).

This makes it two straight heat-stop­ping home games for the Tigers, who trailed 36-28 to Louisville be­fore ral­ly­ing with two touch­downs in the fi­nal eight min­utes to take that show­down victory.

“It’s about faith and be­lief,” said Wat­son, who fin­ished 39 of 52 for 378 yards and two touch­downs. “It’s what we had to do to get the ‘W.”’

Bam­bard made just one of four field goal at­tempts, in­clud­ing one that was blocked by Wilkins, all missed op­por­tu­ni­ties that cost the Wolf­pack.

“At the same time, we could’ve stopped them one more time,” North Carolina State cor­ner­back Mike Stevens said. “It’s on the whole team. I’m not point­ing fin­gers.” Stevens started the sec­ond-half drama with a 28yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn TD af­ter Clem­son came out of the half with a 10-3 lead. The Wolf­pack tied things at 17-all on Matt Dayes’ 2-yard scor­ing run with 11:29 to go.

Dayes ended with 106 yards, his fifth 100-yard rush­ing game in six out­ings.

Clem­son took a big hit early on when run­ning back Wayne Gall­man came out, look­ing woozy and out of it as he headed to the locker room. Gall­man, the team’s lead­ing rusher, did not re­turn. Run­ning backs coach and co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Tony El­liott said Gall­man’s prog­no­sis is good.

Re­ceiver Hunter Ren­frow, who had six catches in his first game since Sept. 10 be­cause of a bro­ken hand, was hurt in the fourth quar­ter and came out the rest of the way.

TAKEAWAY

North Carolina State: The Wolf­pack look like a team on the rise, one of the few the past two sea­son that has been able to take the Tigers down to the wire.

Clem­son: The Tigers prob­a­bly won’t gain much sup­port in the rank­ings with its tight victory at home. But in the end, it might not mat­ter if they are stand­ing on top of the league with a per­fect record.

POLL IM­PLI­CA­TIONS: As ex­cit­ing as things were to the 82,104 in Death Val­ley, the ques­tions poll vot­ers will have are about Clem­son’s pen­chant for turnovers and can the Tigers get away with it in two weeks at Florida State. Don’t be sur­prised to see the Tigers slip a notch or two when the new Top 25 comes out.

UP NEXT

North Carolina State: The Wolf­pack head to No. 7 Louisville where they are 0-3 all time, in­clud­ing a 30-18 de­feat two years ago.

Clem­son: The Tigers get the week off be­fore trav­el­ing to No. 14 Florida State on Oct. 29. Clem­son has won just once (2006) in its past 12 vis­its to Tal­la­has­see.

RICHARD SHIRO — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Clem­son quar­ter­back De­shaun Wat­son scores a touch­down dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NCAA col­lege foot­ball game against North Carolina State, Satur­day in Clem­son, S.C. Clem­son won 24-17 in over­time.

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