Devin Leary passed for 238 yards and four touchdowns, including one in each overtime, as North Carolina State defeated No. 9 Clemson 27-21 Saturday night at Raleigh, N.C.
It was the Wolfpack’s first victory against Clemson since 2011, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the series that had seen Clemson win 15 of the previous 16 meetings.
After Clemson (2-2, 1-1 ACC) scored first in overtime on a 9-yard pass from quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei to Justyn Ross, Leary tied it up with a 2-yard touchdown toss to Thayer Thomas, then won it by connecting with a diving Devin Carter for a 22-yard touchdown in the right corner of the end zone.
NC State’s defense then quieted the Tigers on four consecutive downs to clinch the victory.
The Wolfpack held the Tigers to 214 total yards while NC State’s offense racked up 386 against a Clemson defense that had held each of its first three opponents this season without an offensive touchdown.
NC State (3-1, 1-0) handed Clemson its second defeat in four games — the Tigers lost to Georgia 10-3 in their season opener and have lost two regular-season games for the first time since 2014.
The defeat not only was a big blow to Clemson’s hopes for making the College Football Playoff for a seventh consecutive year, but also for its chances of winning a seventh straight ACC championship.
Clemson drove 80 yards in five plays on its second possession of the game for a 7-0 lead. Uiagalelei threw a strike to Ross in the back of the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown.
But NC State’s defense answered in a big way, holding the Tigers to 35 total yards over their next eight possessions.
The Wolfpack tied the game at 7-7 with five seconds left in the first quarter on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Leary to Emeka Emezie, who had a career-high 14 receptions for 114 yards.
NC State pulled ahead 14-7 with 5:10 left in the third quarter with Leary connecting with Carter for a 12-yard touchdown.
Clemson’s offense, which has struggled this season following the departures of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne to the NFL, then awakened.
Uiagalelei rumbled for a 37-yard gain to set up Will Shipley with a 5-yard touchdown run as the Tigers tied the game at 14 with 10:52 remaining.
Uiagalelei completed 12 of 26 passes for 111 yards, including eight to Ross for 77 yards.
NC State’s Ricky Person rushed for 91 yards on 21 carries while Zonovan “Bam” Knight added 79 yards on 23 attempts.
Both teams were heavily penalized — Clemson 13 times for 94 yards and NC State 11 for 105.
–Field Level Media
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