NC State football upset win over Clemson. Who won? Score?

NC State football upset win over Clemson. Who won? Score?

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NC State football upset win over Clemson. Who won? Score?
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It wasn’t the upset some might have figured it would be at the beginning of the season, but N.C. State football’s win over Clemson on Saturday will still turn plenty of heads as the calendar page turns to November. For the first time in recent memory, this late in the season, the Tigers are at .500.

And the Wolfpack is still very much alive.

The Pack (5-3, 2-2 ACC) defeated Clemson (4-4, 2-4 ACC), 24-17, on Saturday in its homecoming game, handing the Tigers their second consecutive loss and remarkable fourth of the season in a game in which Clemson was favored in most sports books by 10, and ESPN’s prognostication formula game the Tigers a 75.6% chance to win.

N.C. State linebacker Payton Wilson (11) dives in to score on a 15-yard touchdown interception during the second half of N.C. State’s 24-17 victory over Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
N.C. State linebacker Payton Wilson (11) dives in to score on a 15-yard touchdown interception during the second half of N.C. State’s 24-17 victory over Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Ethan Hyman [email protected]

ESPN GameDay guest picker Steve Smith selected Clemson to win during the Saturday morning broadcast, saying, “Clemson has been struggling. They’re not the Clemson we’ve loved over the years, but NC State, unfortunately, they’re waiting for basketball to start.”

In his postgame TV interview, Doeren said, “Tell Steve Smith in the studio this ain’t a basketball school. He can kiss my (expletive).”

He continued that passion in the postgame press conference. Doeren said Smith disrespected the program, and he won’t let anyone get away with it.

“These kids have worked their butt off. We’ve won a lot of football games here, and in my tenure here I think we’re second, or third and ACC and wins in football,” Doeren said. “He can take that and put it where it belongs. This is not a basketball school. This is a great, great school that has great sports, and football is one of them. If he wants to come see me, we can talk about that, but do your homework before you start talking (expletive).”

The win gives head coach Dave Doeren his 100th career victory and ties him for the most in Wolfpack history, with 77. His overall record is 77-57, with a 40-46 record in the ACC. Coming into the season, N.C. State ranked No. 3 in league wins under Doeren since 2018 (23).

This was the 91st meeting between the two programs and second straight victory for the Pack when hosting the Tigers at Carter-Finley Stadium. It also won the last meeting in Raleigh, picking up a 27-20 double overtime victory.

Here are three takeaways updates from the game:

Defense is the best offense

Doeren consistently preaches the importance of winning the turnover battle. N.C. State did that in commanding fashion.

Two of the Pack’s touchdowns came directly from turnovers, with safety Devan Boykin getting things going in the first. Boykin intercepted a pass from Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik. The offense turned the interception into a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback MJ Morris to wide receiver Kevin “KC” Concepcion, putting N.C. State up, 7-0.

Then, linebacker Payton Wilson recorded his first career pick six in the third quarter. He intercepted a pass from Klubnik and returned the ball for 15 yards to the end zone.

Jaylon Scott added a forced fumble in the fourth quarter, pushing the Tigers back 17 yards. They were unable to make up for the deficit and were forced to punt, giving N.C. State possession.

KC Concepcion carries offense

Concepcion put together yet another big game for the Wolfpack, recording his third contest of at least 100 yards.

The true freshman contributed 51 rushing yards and 83 receiving yards en route to the victory. He hauled in two touchdown catches, while the 50-yard run took place three plays before one of his trips to the end zone.

He added a 72-yard touchdown pass, as well. That put him up to six touchdowns this season.

N.C. State wide receiver KC Concepcion (10) runs for 50-yards during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
N.C. State wide receiver KC Concepcion (10) runs for 50-yards during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Ethan Hyman [email protected]

Concepcion’s impressive performance was much-needed in a game where N.C. State finished with just 201 yards, including 20 passing yards at halftime.

The offensive struggles don’t lie solely on Morris or the other receivers, though. It would be an understatement to say the offensive line protection lacked.

Clemson sacked Morris twice for a loss of 18 yards in the first half, while adding a third sack against Brennan Armstrong for a loss of four. The O-line allowed three QB hurries, as well.

Basically, the Wolfpack offense should thank Concepcion and its defenders for covering up a lot of issues that could’ve handed Clemson a win.

N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren walks off the field with linebacker Payton Wilson (11) after the Wolfpack’s 24-17 victory over Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren walks off the field with linebacker Payton Wilson (11) after the Wolfpack’s 24-17 victory over Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Ethan Hyman [email protected]

Kicking comes up clutch

N.C. State’s consistent special teams efforts once again made an impact on the game, as expected.

Place kicker Brayden Narverson made a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter, putting the Wolfpack up 10 points. It was his seventh straight successful field goal this season, with his last miss coming against Notre Dame.

Clemson had an opportunity to tie the contest before halftime, but place kicker Jonathan Weitz missed the 43-yard attempt. The Tigers are 6-of-13 on field goal attempts this season, with Weitz going 5-of-9. Weitz’s longest field goal of the season measured 41 yards.

One field goal might not seem to matter, but that three-point lead gave N.C. State major momentum before the break.

This story was originally published October 28, 2023, 2:14 PM.

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NC State football upset win over Clemson. Who won? Score?

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