Top Ten Takedown for Tigers, #5 Clemson beats #10 NC State 30-20 (AUDIO/VIDEO)

DJ Uiagalelei rushed for a career high 73 yards and 2 TDs in win over NC State (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Clemson: Clemson has a firm grip now on returning to the top of the ACC’s Atlantic Division after knocking off previously unbeaten NC State 30-20 before a packed house at Death Valley Saturday night. That victory coupled with last week’s win at Wake Forest and the Demon Deacons victory at Florida State Saturday leaves the Tigers atop the division with a 3-0 league mark.

The Tigers improved to 5-0 overall with their 11th straight win and 37th in a row at home. They are also 15-12 all-time in top ten showdowns.

Here’s a game recap from Nikki Hood:

It was electric. It was a battle. It was everything a battle between two top-10 teams should be.

Fifth-ranked Clemson out-dueled No. 10 NC State 30-20 under the Death Valley lights Saturday night to remain unbeaten. Clemson improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC, while NC State fell to 4-1 and 0-1 in conference.

Clemson finished the game with 358 total yards. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei completed 21-of-30 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball 14 times for 73 yards and two scores.

NC State finished the game with 279 yards of total offense, with just 30 yards coming on the ground.

Uiagalelei completed 3-of-4 passes on Clemson’s opening drive that covered 72 total yards. However, NC States defense stood tall in the redzone, and the Tigers had to settle for a 20-yard BT Potter field goal and 3-0 lead.

The Wolfpack answered with a field goal of their own when Christopher Dunn hit from 20 out to tie the game at 3-3 with 19 seconds to play in the opening quarter. NC State was perfect on third down, including converting a 3rd-and-12 opportunity, and was one-for-one on fourth down.

After trading punts, NC State struck for the game’s first touchdown after Clemson was flagged for a couple of costly penalties. Andrew Mukuba – who started at corner after missing time due to a shoulder injury – was called for targeting in a review that was initiated by the booth.

A few plays later, RJ Mickens was flagged for pass interference on a ball that he swatted away from the receiver. Just two plays later, Devin Leary found Cedd Seabrough for a two-yard touchdown pass and a 10-6 lead with 1:51 to play.

Much like last week against Wake Forest, Uiagalelei and Clemson responded with an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of its own. A 14-yard pass to Beaux Collins and an 11-yard run by Will Shipley kept Clemson’s drive alive. On first down on the NC State 27, Uiagalelei bought time and found Shipley down the sideline for 26-yard gain. Uiagalelei did the rest with a one-yard plunge into the endzone to give Clemson a 13-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson’s defense answered the bell to start the second half with sacks by Barrett Carter and Myles Murphy bookended around an incomplete pass to force a three-and-out.

The Tigers’ offense took over and marched straight down the field. Uiagalelei’s 38-yard run down the opponent’s sideline set up a seven-yard pass to Jake Briningstool to extend Clemson’s lead to 20-10 with just over 11 minutes to play. The drive covered 58 yards in just four plays.

Potter missed his first field of the season – a 46-yard attempt – but Clemson’s defense again held strong.

On third-and-three, Toriano Pride, Jr. intercepted a Devin Leary pass and returned it four yards to the 48-yard line. Seven plays later, Potter was true from 44 yards to makes it a 23-13 Clemson advantage with 14:16 to play.

After a fourth down stop, Clemson’s offense took over with 7:39 to play and methodically marched down the field over the next three-plus minutes. On third-and-nine, Uiagalelei faked the handoff and ran a bootleg to the left side and found paydirt for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The nine-play, 58-yard drive gave Clemson a 30-13 lead with 3:04 to play.

State’s Leary led a final drive and scored on a 4-yard run with :58 to play to account for the final 30-20 score.

Final Stats

Nate Wiggins and the secondary was much improved from the Wake Forest game (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Here’s my view from Death Valley

DE KJ Henry kept pressure on NC State QB Devin Leary throughout the game (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Clemson postgame media sessions

Dabo Swinney

DJ Uiagalelei

KJ Henry

Toriano Pride

The Clemson defense gobbled up the NC State running game (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

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