Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/19/11

Clemson was 8-0 following a 59-38 victory over North Carolina back on October 22nd, and feeling quite good about themselves moving forward.  At some point – Clemson ran into a wall.

Following the North Carolina win, Clemson traveled to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech where they were unceremoniously knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten.  Clemson lost that game 31-17.

Clemson’s mantra is “Never, ever, ever, ever give up”. They even have a sign of it in their locker room.  The Tigers were down 14 versus Auburn and came back to win – as they were versus Wake Forest last week. 

This week, not only was the sign that hangs from the Clemson locker room left behind – motivation, fight and preparation did not make the flight either.

NC State (6-5, 3-4 ACC) – with nothing to lose – did something Clemson (9-2, 6-2 ACC) fan had hoped for.  The Wolfpack, game plan in hand and motivation in check, took it to Clemson winning 37-13 getting a game closer to Bowl Eligibility and staving off the “Fire Tom O’Brien” talk.

For as successful as this Clemson offense has been this season, it has sputtered lately with bad quarterback play, horrendous offensive line play and the fact that Sammy Watkins did not play tonight – of course – did not help their chances.

Clemson, who rode wave after wave of good luck earlier in the season, now is witnessing that luck run out.

Tajh Boyd is not being protected – nor is he making correct decisions.  That is a bad combination.  You must take your hat off to NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer.  He mixed coverage's, blitzed from different gaps at different times and absolutely picked apart Clemson in film review.  Archer knew when Clemson was passing, he would drop seven.  Archer picked the perfect times to send blitzes, knowing the Clemson running backs have had problems picking up blitzes.  Beyond that, Boyd, still, made several bad reads against this NC State defense.

As I reach for kind words to say about the Clemson offensive line tonight – I just cannot.  They were dominated at every single position.  Phillip Price being hurt or not, it would not have mattered.  NC State came to play, Clemson did not.

Tonight – when the Clemson offense looked as lost as the defense has all season – you saw what could happen.  Clemson showed an inability, as they have most of the season, to wrap up their guy and make a tackle.  As Mike Archer called a good game for NC State defensively, Dana Bible had just as great of a game on the offensive side of the ball.

You attack your opponents weakness, it seems pretty simple doesn’t it?  Bible, and NC State, did just that.  Screens – getting linebackers to make decisions in space – and the NC State run game killed the Tigers.

Both teams got off to rather slow starts in the first quarter of the game – a quarter filled with six punts between the two teams.  In the second quarter, NC State blew Clemson out of the water.

NC State had five drives in the second quarter.  They scored every time.  At the half it was 27-3 and the Wolfpack would never look back.

A once-upon-a-time dream of a perfect season has now turned into quite the unfortunate nightmare for the Clemson Tigers.  Having already clinched a berth into the ACC Championship game, if they are looking to go into that game with momentum – good luck finding it.  Next week Clemson faces a match up nightmare – their bitter in-state rival – the South Carolina Gamecocks.  If they were to lose next week it would be the first time since the 1960’s that Clemson would have lost three straight games to NC State. 

When the dust settles from this, now, brewing storm – Clemson fan has every single right in the world to be upset with this football team and this coaching staff.  They were not prepared, not ready and not motivated.

“Never, ever, ever, ever give up”?  You did tonight.

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