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Written by Ryan on September 16, 2013

North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Clemson Tigers Free Pick 9/19/13: Ryan's Free College Football Pick Against the Spread
Photo by: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina State Wolfpack host the Clemson Tigers on Thursday night.

The Clemson Tigers travel to North Carolina State to play the Wolfpack on Thursday night.

The Clemson Tigers had the week off after starting 2-0 on the season by beating Georgia and South Carolina State. The offense is led by senior QB Tajh Boyd who has completed 32 of 53 passes for 449 yards and 3 touchdowns passes in the first two games. Boyd did not play the whole game against South Carolina State so his stats are somewhat limited. Boyd played great against Georgia, an SEC powerhouse, and helped the Tigers earn a huge win to start the year. RB Roderick McDowell leads the team in rushing with 175 yards on 30 carries. Star WR Sammy Watkins is Boyd’s favorite target and has caught 9 balls for 146 yards with a touchdown so far this season. WR Martavis Bryant and WR Charone Peake have also produced, combining for 171 yards on 12 catches. However, Peake will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL. The Clemson defense did not play well against Georgia, giving up 545 total yards to the Bulldogs. However, the Tigers forced 2 turnovers and limited Georgia’s success on the 3rd down in the season opener. Clemson’s defense is the key to how far the Tigers can go this year because the offense is expected to produce big numbers all year long. The Tigers will have their first test on the road against N.C. State this week.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack are off to a 2-0 start after beating Louisiana Tech and Richmond. The Wolfpack offense is led by junior QB Pete Thomas who has completed 39 of 58 passes for 449 yards this season. Thomas has not thrown a touchdown yet this season, while throwing 3 interceptions. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling and WR Rashard Smith lead the receivers so far this season as each of them have caught 12 balls for a combined 319 yards. RB Matt Dayes and RB Tony Creecy are carrying the load out of the backfield, combining for 56 carries for 230 yards with 4 touchdowns. N.C. State played great defense against a solid Louisiana Tech squad in week one, holding them to 321 total yards and forcing 4 turnovers in the win. The following week, the Wolfpack held Richmond to 322 total yards of offense and forced 2 turnovers. This may be the game of the year for the Wolfpack as they welcome in arguably the best team in the ACC this year. The game will be in primetime and nationally televised so the crowd will be full of energy to help to home team on defense. The young offensive line will have to give Thomas time in the pocket to take advantage of a questionable Clemson secondary. CB Dontae Johnson will have the tough task of covering Watkins in the secondary, while the experience on the defensive line will have to get pressure up front on Boyd.

Clemson is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games. The road team is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings. Clemson is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings at North Carolina State. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. The under is 7-0 in the Wolfpack’s last 7 home games.

Clemson has defeated N.C. State 8 out of the last 10 meetings, with 3 of those wins coming at N.C. State. With almost two weeks to prepare, Clemson’s offense will definitely put up big numbers against a vulnerable Wolfpack defense. The big questions if whether or not the Wolfpack can keep up offensively. I think N.C. State is weak up front and the Tigers will be able to put pressure on Thomas, while limiting the rushing attack. As long as Clemson takes care of the ball I think the Tigers win this game by two touchdowns, which is the current spread. I’m not high on this play but I’ll roll with the Tigers to make a statement on the road under the lights on Thursday.

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Ryan's Pick: Clemson -14; Over 66


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