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The Tiger Sports (TS): The Textile Bowl between Clemson and NC State has always seemed to bring with it a sense of allure, and this year’s installment is the most alluring Textile Bowl that there has been in quite some time. With both teams excelling right now, do you feel like that could become the standard for Textile Bowls in the coming years?


Andrew Schnittker (AS): I really do feel like that could become the standard. The Tigers have always been a power house, loaded with five-star talent, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. As for the Wolfpack, this is for sure a program on the rise. Since taking over in 2013, Dave Doeren has done a great job building up roster, and this year’s senior-laden squad has shown the fruits of his labor. I think seeing what this program is capable of will only help getting future top recruits, and the Wolfpack is only going to keep getting stronger as a program from here.


TS: One could make the case that the Wolfpack has overachieved thus far this season. What has sparked this solid showing from NC State so far this year?


AS: I wouldn’t say this team has overachieved. I think coming in, this was, on paper, a loaded team that had the potential to have this kind of season, and that potential is being realized. Ryan Finley has had a full year to develop as a quarterback, and his efforts have payed off, with a veteran offensive line and deep receiving corps helping him out. On the defensive side of the ball, it’s a defensive line with four starting seniors, led by likely top-10 NFL draft pick Bradley Chubb. This is a group that has found success through having all hands on deck and firing on all cylinders, and I think it always had the potential to do so.


TS: Of course, quarterback Ryan Finley has done an excellent job of leading the NC State offense this season. But who are some X-factors on the Wolfpack’s offense who could team up with Finley to defeat the Tigers?


AS: Two players you should have your eyes on are all-purpose back Jaylen Samuels and receiver Kelvin Harmon. There’s little Samuels can’t do. He’s a weapon in both the passing and running game, and is a magnet for the end zone with 10 total touchdowns. Harmon is a physical, big-play receiver. His size, route-running ability and toughness have made him one of Finley’s favorite targets, with four games on the season of 100-plus yards receiving. He’s usually good for one “Mossed” type catch per game, that will leave you pushing your jaw back into proper alignment.



TS: Does this Wolfpack team have what it takes to win the ACC?


AS: Definitely. This team is 4-0 in ACC play, and has already knocked off two tough opponents, though both had their recent struggles in Florida State and Louisville. Obviously, it comes down to this game. Beat Clemson, and the Pack essentially takes a strangle hold on the Atlantic. Reach the ACC title game, and I like the Pack against any of Miami, Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech, as the team will have already faced plenty of tough competition and will be battle tested. Speaking of which…

TS: The Tigers will take on the Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium this Saturday. What is your score prediction, and why?


AS: The Pack should have beaten Clemson last year. Most of the players from that game are back, will remember it and are not happy about it. I think State has what it takes to pull off the upset, and will certainly be motivated, both after last year’s close call in Death Valley and last week’s drubbing against Notre Dame. 

I think Chubb and the defensive line can disrupt the backfield and make life miserable for Bryant, and Finley and the offensive will move the ball just enough against Clemson’s stacked defense. Give me Wolfpack 20, Tigers 17 in a nailbiter.

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