RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State coach Tom O’Brien never saw this coming. Neither did seventh-ranked Clemson, which suddenly looks a bit lost at the wrong time of the year.
Mike Glennon threw three touchdown passes and the Wolfpack shut down the Tigers’ explosive offense to take a 37-13 win on Saturday, a surprisingly dominant performance by a team still trying to become bowl eligible.
Tobais Palmer had a dazzling 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown to highlight a big game for N.C. State (6-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Wolfpack scored 27 points in the second quarter, then increased the lead and never let the Tigers (9-2, 6-2) build any momentum to rally.
“I really have no explanation for what just happened,” O’Brien said with a smile.
It was N.C. State’s first win against a top-10 team in five seasons under O’Brien and it continued the mystifying ways of a team that has struggled with consistency all year.
N.C. State emphatically ending a seven-year losing streak to a team that had already wrapped up the league’s Atlantic Division crown and an appearance in the ACC championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 3.
N.C. State still needs to win next week against Maryland to become bowl eligible.
The Tigers averaged a league-best 37 points and 478 yards per game, but they didn’t reach the end zone until the final 90 seconds. They didn’t crack the 200-yard mark until late in the third quarter and earned many of their 337 total yards in the final minutes.
“I’m disappointed in how we played,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said, “embarrassed really.”