RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Clemson defense is stocked with four- and five-star recruits as far as the eye can see. And that talent is evident when searching the rankings of the nation’s best defensive teams.
“They’re very talented, very experienced group similar to us,” said North Carolina State linebacker Isaiah Moore. “They play fast and they play hard. Much respect to their defense and what they do on that side of the ball.”
And while the nation knows all about the Clemson defense, that’s not the case when it comes to the Wolfpack stoppers.
“We know who we are and have that identity on defense, and we want to show the world that,” defensive end Daniel Joseph said.
Many would be surprised to know that, stat for stat, the N.C. State defense has been just as good as Clemson’s so far this season. The Tigers have the second-best scoring defense in the nation, giving up just 7 points per game. But the Pack is right there, as well, ranking fifth in that same category allowing just over 10 points per outing.
Clemson is 19th in total defense, while N.C. State is 16th.
“You’re seeing 11 guys playing unselfish defense,” head coach Dave Doeren said. “They’re not concerned about the scheme. They’re not concerned about the play call. They’re concerned about playing hard for each other.
“There’s game experience in that group. They’ve seen a lot on the field and that collective experience of playing and understanding how a game flows. They’re calm, they’re poised. They communicate well and they take coaching on the sideline.”
The Wolfpack will be facing a Clemson offense that has been shockingly bad early in the season. The Tigers failed to score a touchdown in their season-opening loss to No. 2 Georgia and mustered just 14 points against a Georgia Tech team not known for defense.
The Pack, though, is not about to fall into that trap. They know this Clemson offense is capable of having a break-out game.
“They have a lot of weapons on offense,” Moore said. “They’ve struggled a little bit but are capable of exploding for however many and whenever.”
The Wolfpack defense is confident whatever is ailing the Tigers offense won’t get fixed this weekend.
“It should be a fun game,” Moore said.