RALEIGH, N.C. – Good evening, and welcome to the first of eight best shots Clemson will take this fall from the ACC.
Test One is a doozy, a trap game, a don’t take ‘em lightly situation. Remember when College GameDay ran that “Pulling a Clemson” feature? The normally mild-mannered Chris Fowler looked hard into the camera and said, “Take. NC State. Seriously. Don’t. Overlook. The Wolfpack.”
It’s a cool, cloudy night at Carter-Finley Stadium as the clock ticks past 6 p.m. In about six hours, we’ll be one step closer to learning if Clemson’s No. 3 ranking is perfectly valid or a pipe dream.
Some pregame observations:
- The stadium is surrounded by fairgrounds, expansive parking lots and the PNC Arena – home to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. It’s a tailgaters’ paradise.
- Hello there, NFL scouts. There’s a bunch of ‘em here, clearly because this is the only FBS game going on tonight in the country.
- Injury report: you already know WR Charone Peake (knee injury), RB Tyshon Dye (back), CB Mackensie Alexander (groin) and DT Scott Pagano (ankle) are out. Linebacker B.J. Goodson is out as he continues to progress through the concussion safety protocol. However, RB Roderick McDowell (concussion), RG Tyler Shatley (foot) and nickel Korrin Wiggins (hamstring) are physically able to play after either sitting out or getting nicked up vs. South Carolina State 12 days ago.
- Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro is eight points away from becoming the Tigers’ career scoring leader. The fifth-year senior has got 322 points, trailing Aaron Hunt by a couple of field goals and an extra point. Catanzaro’s 56 field goals leads all active FBS kickers, and he’s 28 of his last 29 (including 27 straight from inside 48 yards.)
- They really, really, really like their Twitter hashtags here. On one sheet of paper presented in the press box labeled “#GoPack Twitter Talk”, there are 24 different hashtags. For example: “NC State opens its ACC slate at home for the first time since 2006. #HomeSlate” and “TE Asa Watson’s sister is a junior middle hitter on the Clemson volleyball team. #SiblingRivalry.”
Per a recent NCAA rule change, NC State cannot print hashtags on the field or around Carter-Finley Stadium.