Raleigh, NC – In a game that featured some of everything from visits from the Cardiac Pack, NC State-Ish, and even a sample of Clemsoning, the NC State Wolfpack football team finally got over the Clemson hurdle – coming away with a 27-21 double-overtime victory in front of a sold-out crowd inside Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday night.
Even with the score being as tight as it was, NC State dominated almost every statistical category – with the Wolfpack out-gaining the Tigers 386-214 in total yards, while the NC State defense held the Clemson offense to just 2-11 on third-down conversions.
Both teams traded punts to open the game. DJ Uiagalelei showed his arm strength and mobility, making two huge plays on the ensuing drive which resulted in a 31-yard scoring strike to Justin Ross in the back of the endzone – putting the Tigers ahead 7-0 with 9:11 left in the first.
After punts from both teams, NC State put together their best drive of the quarter and found paydirt as Devin Leary found Emeka Emezie with a nice back-shoulder throw from nine yards out tying the score at 7-7 just before the quarter break.
Neither offense could get out of their own way during most of the second quarter, with the Tigers offensive line failing to protect Uiagalelei while the Wolfpack turned the ball over on a promising drive attempting a trick play that resulted in Leary being stripped by Xavier Thomas.
The Wolfpack defense got in on the turnovers as Uiagalelei’s pass was tipped by Isaiah Moore and intercepted by Drake Thomas, halting a Tiger drive inside the NC State 35-yard line. A costly chop block on the ensuing drive pushed a long field goal attempt even farther as Chris Dunn’s 53-yard attempt was short and wide left, sending us to halftime tied at seven.
The tie was finally broken as NC State orchestrated a 9 play 77-yard drive that saw Leary hit Devin Carter on a 12-yard scoring strike making the score 14-7 with 5:10 left in the period. Neither team scored again sending us to the last quarter with the Wolfpack ahead 14-7.
Clemson found life, converting their first third-down conversion of the game followed by runs of 16 and 37 from Will Shipley and Uiagelelei setting up first and goal for the Tigers. Shipley tied the score at 14 with a five-yard touchdown run with 10:52 left in regulation.
Dunn was again put into position to connect a long field goal, this one from 51 yards which ended in the same result wide left. The Wolfpack defense stepped up to the task, forcing a quick Tiger three and out giving the ball back to the offense. The offense drove down the field setting up Dunn for a chance for redemption with two seconds left. Dunn again pushed his attempt left with this one coming from 39 yards out sending the game to overtime.
Clemson received the ball first in the first extra period, finding paydirt on third down as Uiagelelei found Justin Ross for a nine-yard strike. The Wolfpack answered with a three-yard pass from Leary to Thayer Thomas. Dunn added the PAT to send the game into double overtime.
Devin Carter made the play of the night with an incredible catch in the back corner of the end zone. Putting NC State ahead 27-21. The mandatory two-point conversion attempt was no good. Facing 4th and 5 from the 20 after the change of possession, Uiagelelei’s pass to Ross was incomplete sending Carter-Finley into a madhouse and the fans spilling onto the field celebrating State’s first win over Clemson since 2011.
NC State returns to Carter-Finley next Saturday when they host LA. Tech.