Clemson struggled to get its offense running in high gear and spent much of Thursday night fighting to protect a slim lead. The third-ranked Tigers still did enough to stay unbeaten in the kind of game that often has slipped away in recent years.
Tajh Boyd threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns to help Clemson beat North Carolina State 26-14, winning its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on the road.
Clemson came in averaging 45 points and 490 yards but didn't score its first touchdown until late in the first half.
''We had two or three scoring opportunities that we didn't convert on and just missed them. Just that simple,'' Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. ''I thought we had a good game plan. I was pleased with how we were able to run the ball but disappointed with some execution in the first half. . . . But we cleaned it up, we battled hard and got it to the second half and we ended up coming alive.''
Boyd's 30-yard scoring pass to Martavis Bryant capped a critical third-quar...