for this game

Harper leads Clemson past North Carolina State

Sep 13, 2008 - 8:58 PM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Cullen Harper and Clemson still have plenty of improvements to make.

Harper overcame an early interception to throw for a pair of touchdowns Saturday as the 23rd-ranked Tigers grinded out an unimpressive 27-9 victory over North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.

Ranked ninth nationally at the start of the season, the Tigers (2-1, 1-0 ACC Atlantic) quickly showed that were overrated as they endured a 34-10 beating at the hands of Alabama. Last week, Clemson rolled to a 45-17 rout of The Citadel.

"Overall, I thought we play well today. I was concerned starting three freshmen on offense, but everyone played with a lot effort," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said.

The ACC opener started in inauspicious fashion when Harper was intercepted on the first play from scrimmage by linebacker Nate Irving, who returned the pick 33 yards for a touchdown to give NC State the lead. The extra point was blocked.

Harper managed to settle down, throwing touchdown passes of 16 yards to Jacoby Ford on the Tigers' ensuing possession and a 28-yard scoring strike to speedy running back C.J. Spiller midway through the second quarter for a 17-6 lead.

"It was good that I came out and threw the ball well," Harper said. "The defense did a good job, and we got it started in the right direction. The O-line did a great job, the running backs ran the ball extremely hard, and we found ways to get the receivers involved; we've got to continue to do that. They got the momentum early on and we had to put that behind us."

Harper completed 20-of-28 passes for 262 yards and the early interception. His favorite target was Ford, who caught six passes for 106 yards.

"We just came out and executed really well," Ford said. "When my number was called, I just made plays today. If you have a good week in practice, then you'll play well in the game. I just want to go out there and put the team in position to win."

Even though they managed to pull away, the Tigers were inconsistent offensively for much of the contest.

Spiller finally salted things away, capping a 13-play, 96-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run with under 81 seconds remaining to give the Tigers the final margin. The junior, running behind three freshman on the offensive line, rushed for 61 yards on 10 attempts.

"I thought the guys did a good job up front," Spiller said.

Overall, the Tigers rushed for 166 yards.

Mark Buchholz added field goals of 22 and 31 yards for the Tigers, who get to snack on another cupcake next week when they host South Carolina State.

Defensively, the Tigers had little trouble against the Wolfpack (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic), gained just 288 total yards in failing to score an offensive touchdown for the second time in three games.

Just about the only offensive success for the Wolfpack was a 13-play, 73-yard drive in the third quarter. Josh Czajkowski capped that march with a 22-yard field goal.

Russell Wilson completed 10-of-21 passes for 92 yards and an interception. Harrison Beck also threw an interception.

"Clemson is a very good football team and our team hung in there," NC State coach Tom O'Brien said. "There were a couple situations when we were right there and could not make the plays."








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NC STATE 6 0 3 0 9
    CLEMSON 7 10 0 10 27 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NC STATE - TD, NATE IRVING 34 YD INTERCEPTION
    RETURN (PAT BLOCKED), 0:07. NC
    STATE 6-0
    CLEMSON - TD, JACOBY FORD 17 YD PASS FROM
    CULLEN HARPER (MARK BUCHHOLZ
    KICK), 4:32. CLEMSON 7-6
    2ND QUARTER: CLEMSON -

    Sep 13 3:08 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD CLEMSON
    C.J. SPILLER 12 YD RUN
    (MARK BUCHHOLZ KICK)
    NC STATE 9
    CLEMSON 27 1:21 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    NC State 9, Clemson 27  4th - 1:21Sep 13 3:00 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG CLEMSON
    MARK BUCHHOLZ 31 YD
    NC STATE 9
    CLEMSON 20 13:21 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    NC State 9, Clemson 20  4th - 13:21Sep 13 2:35 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NC STATE 6 0 3 9
    CLEMSON 7 10 0 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NC STATE - TD, NATE IRVING 34 YD INTERCEPTION
    RETURN (PAT BLOCKED), 0:07. NC
    STATE 6-0
    CLEMSON - TD, JACOBY FORD 17 YD PASS FROM
    CULLEN HARPER (MARK BUCHHOLZ
    KICK), 4:32. CLEMSON 7-6
    2ND QUA

    Sep 13 2:28 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG NC STATE
    JOSH CZAJKOWSKI 22 YD
    NC STATE 9
    CLEMSON 17 1:01 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    NC State 9, Clemson 17  3rd - 1:01Sep 13 2:24 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NC STATE 6 0 6
    CLEMSON 7 10 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NC STATE - TD, NATE IRVING 34 YD INTERCEPTION
    RETURN (PAT BLOCKED), 0:07. NC
    STATE 6-0
    CLEMSON - TD, JACOBY FORD 17 YD PASS FROM
    CULLEN HARPER (MARK BUCHHOLZ
    KICK), 4:32. CLEMSON 7-6
    2ND QUARTER: CL

    Sep 13 1:36 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD CLEMSON
    C.J. SPILLER 28 YD PASS FROM CULLEN HARPER
    (MARK BUCHHOLZ KICK)
    NC STATE 6
    CLEMSON 17 8:03 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    NC State 6, Clemson 17  2nd - 8:03Sep 13 1:14 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG CLEMSON
    MARK BUCHHOLZ 22 YD
    NC STATE 6
    CLEMSON 10 10:39 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    NC State 6, Clemson 10  2nd - 10:39Sep 13 1:03 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NC STATE 6 6
    CLEMSON 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NC STATE - TD, NATE IRVING 34 YD INTERCEPTION
    RETURN (PAT BLOCKED), 0:07. NC
    STATE 6-0
    CLEMSON - TD, JACOBY FORD 17 YD PASS FROM
    CULLEN HARPER (MARK BUCHHOLZ
    KICK), 4:32. CLEMSON 7-6

    Sep 13 12:47 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD CLEMSON
    JACOBY FORD 17 YD PASS FROM CULLEN HARPER
    (MARK BUCHHOLZ KICK)
    NC STATE 6
    CLEMSON 7 10:28 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    NC State 6, Clemson 7  1st - 10:28Sep 13 12:23 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NC STATE
    NATE IRVING 34 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (PAT BLOCKED)
    NC STATE 6
    CLEMSON 0 14:53 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    NC State 6, Clemson 0  1st - 14:53Sep 13 12:14 PM