Photo courtesy of NC State football
Week 4 of the college football season saw four ranked teams lose to unranked opponents.
The most notable and perhaps most thrilling? NC State knocking Clemson in two overtimes at Carter-Finley Stadium, 27-21.
With the win that probably not only knocks Clemson out of College Football Playoff contention, but from controlling its own destiny in the ACC, the Wolfpack earn this week’s distinction of FQ/CFBHome Team of the Week.
Grit and Determination
NC State was in great position to win on Saturday. The Wolfpack took a 14-7 lead into the final quarter, but No. 9 Clemson drew even early in the period on Will Shipley’s 5-yard touchdown run.
Still, with the contest tied 14-14 and just seconds remaining, NC State was in position to kick the winning field goal. Christopher Dunn however, was unable to connect on a 39-yard try and the contest went into overtime.
It seemed as though NC State had missed its chance. The Wolfpack would get Clemson into a 3rd-and-7 in overtime, but D.J. Uiagalelei and Justyn Ross hooked up for the 9-yard touchdown that gave the Tigers the lead, 21-14.
On the ensuing NC State possession, the Wolfpack faced a pair of third downs. After a Clemson penalty on the first resulted in a first down, Devin Leary found Thayer Thomas on the second for the tying score.
In the second overtime, NC State needed just two plays to find the end zone as Devin Carter made a beautiful sliding catch for a 22-yard touchdown to put the Wolfpack ahead for good. On 4th-and-5 for Clemson, Uiagalelei’s throw toward the goal line fell innocently to the grass and the upset was complete.
Despite needing two overtimes to pull off the upset, NC State dominated the game statistically. The Wolfpack finished with 386 yards of offense to 214 for Clemson. They also had the ball for nearly 42 minutes of regulation.
The teams combined for 20 penalties for nearly 200 yards. NC State held Clemson to just 103 yards rushing and Uiagalelei to just 111 yards passing on 22 attempts.
Leary threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Emeka Emezie had a monster day receiving for the Wolfpack with 14 catches for 116 yards and a score. Carter caught two touchdowns. NC State’s Ricky Person Jr. led all rushers with 91 yards.
Isaiah Moore led all NC State tacklers with eight stops, including a game-high two for loss. Cory Durden tallied 1.5 sacks. Drake Thomas picked off Uiagalelei for the game’s only interception.
A Long Time Coming
For Clemson, Saturday’s defeat was the first loss to a current ACC team since falling at Syracuse in 2017. The Tigers had won 30 straight games over current ACC schools.
For NC State, Saturday’s victory serves as its third win over a ranked team over the last two years. The Wolfpack had not defeated a top-10 team since rallying from 16 points down to beat No. 3 Florida State in 2012 by a 17-16 score.
With the victory, NC State moved into the polls. The Wolfpack are currently ranked 23rd in the AP Poll.
NC State will try to keep the momentum going this week as it plays host to Louisiana Tech. The contest begins at 6 p.m. ET and streams on ESPN+.
Clemson will host Boston College in a contest that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and airs on ACC Network.