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Clemson

vs.

NC State

Thursday Night

College Football

Pick - Analysis

9/19/13

Clemson goes on the road for the first time this season and is listed as two touchdown favorites over NC State. These teams met last year in a ridiculously high-scoring game in which the Tigers came away as winners, 62-48. However, the last time these teams played in North Carolina, the Wolfpack came away with a surprising 37-13 win as 7-point underdogs. Can NC State pull the upset again even though its team may have regressed from a season ago?

The Wolfpack scored 48 points on Clemson last year, but that was with Mike Glennon at quarterback. Now led by Pete Thomas under center, it's another story. Against two lower level teams, Thomas has yet to throw a touchdown, while throwing three interceptions. NC State actually needed a last-minute field goal to overcome Richmond in its last game, which is not a good sign. Richmond just lost to Gardner-Webb if that says anything about its team. Clemson's weak spot is its defense, and if you can't capitalize in that area, it's going to be a long day. The Wolfpack have a solid duo in Matt Dayes and Tony Creecy at tailback, but that may not matter much if the Tigers get out to an early lead.

Tajh Boyd and company already have a season-making win over Georgia. They currently have their sights set on the ACC title and maybe more as the No. 3 team in the country. Boyd lost a couple options from last year's squad, yet he looked just fine against Georgia, going for five total touchdowns. Roderick McDowell looks solid at running back after going for 132 yards against the Bulldogs and of course Sammy Watkins can't be stopped by many at wide out.

Even as a starter a few years ago with Colorado State, Pete Thomas still finished with more interceptions than touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Can this guy lead an upset, or even come close against a Clemson team looking to prey on the weak? It's a big question mark for the Wolfpack, who are going to face the same problems every week in the ACC. This week it's an even bigger problem facing one of the best offenses and quarterbacks in the country.

The Wolfpack have some numbers in their favor, going 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a bye week and 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 home games. But then again, the Tigers have covered in five straight road games and are 8-1 ATS in their last nine conference games. In this series, the underdog has covered four of the last five games, but the road team is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 contests. Clemson is just 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.

Our score prediction model has Clemson covering this number, winning by a score of 44-20. However, that's only using two games worth of data so we'd advise treading lightly here.

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