NC State survives, defeats #9 Clemson in Double OT thriller
Devin Leary completed 32 of 44 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns and the NC State Wolfpack beat the #9 Clemson Tigers 27-21 in double Overtime in Raleigh on Saturday. The victory snaps a winning streak Clemson held over NC State since 2012 and is the second time in 16 games that the Wolfpack have beaten the Tigers.
The one-two punch running back tandem of Ricky Person Jr and Zonovan Knight helped NC State on the ground with Person Jr tallying 91 rushing yards off of 21 carries and Knight accounting for 79 yards off of 23 carries.
Emeka Emezie, who returned to play one more season for the Wolfpack, led the way in receiving yards with 116 off of 14 catches and a touchdown.
DJ Uiagalelei went 12-26 for 111 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception for the Tigers. Justyn Ross had 77 receiving yards off of eight catches and two touchdowns.
Both teams struggled throughout the contest to get points on the board during the first half resulting in a 7-7 score at halftime. However, Devin Leary found Devin Carter for a 12-yard touchdown reception to put NC State out in front for the first time all game, 14-7 with five minutes to go in the third quarter. Uiagalelei and the Clemson offense wasted no time at the start of the fourth quarter marching down the field on a seven-play drive, which resulted in a Will Shipley touchdown, tying the game at 14 points apiece. NC State had not one but two chances to take the lead afterward.
Senior kicker Christopher Dunn failed to make three long-distance field goals in the game, including a 39-yarder as time expired in the fourth quarter forcing Overtime.
Wolfpack fans were worried that history might repeat itself from 2016. That season, NC State missed a go-ahead field goal as time expired resulting in Clemson winning in Overtime on their own turf in Death Valley.
In Overtime, Uiagalelei and the Tiger offense marched down the field and, off of a nine-yard touchdown catch to Justyn Ross, snatched back the lead 21-14. However, Leary and NC State responded with a two-yard touchdown pass to Thayer Thomas which tied the game once again 21-21. Another overtime period would commence with NC State getting the chance to score. On just the second play of the drive, Leary would find Devin Carter for a 22-yard touchdown catch giving the Wolfpack the lead 27-21.
Unlike the previous overtime period, Clemson was unable to score and NC State would hold on to give Dave Doeren his first win over a top-ten ranked opponent in nine seasons as the Wolfpack's head coach.
Next week, Clemson returns home to Death Valley to take on undefeated Boston College while NC State hosts Louisiana Tech in Raleigh.