CLEMSON — For the first time in almost two years, the Clemson Tigers will play a road game in the daylight.
When the Tigers head to Raleigh to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC) it will mark the first time since the 2015 regular-season-ending matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks that the Tigers have not played a road night game — ending a streak of 13 games in a row in which the Tigers went 12-1.
While head coach Dabo Swinney is always ready to play, regardless of the scheduled time, he is understandably excited to play a game during the day.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't (excited),” Swinney said. “We've played 13 night games in a row away from here. That's a lot of 5 and 6 a.m.s in the morning. I was happy about it. This time of the year, late in the season, you don't control those things, so you embrace it. We went 12-1 in those 13 games. We don't make a big deal out of it. But it didn't disappoint me when I heard it was a 3:30 game. At least we'll get home around midnight, I guess."
The Tigers will make the trek to Raleigh this week to take on No. 20 N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday in what is the biggest game in the ACC this season for both schools. The winner will be a virtual lock to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship game.
The Tigers opened as a seven-point favorite over the Wolfpack Sunday afternoon.
Following a week that saw No. 2 Penn State lose to No. 6 Ohio State and No. 4 TCU lose to No. 25 Iowa State, the Tigers were on the move in the polls — rising to No. 5 in the Amway coaches' poll and No. 6 in The Associated Press Top 25.
The AP top 10: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Miami, Texas Christian University.
The coaches' top 10: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Clemson, Miami, Penn State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State.
The first College Football Playoff rankings, which will ultimately determine the four teams selected to participate in the playoff, will be released Tuesday night (7 p.m., ESPN). The Tigers are picked by many of the media to be in the top four of the first rankings.
The Tigers came out of Saturday night’s game fairly healthy, according to Swinney. The only players suffering injuries of note were defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence — who was “rolled up on” on a cut block early in the game — and safety Tanner Muse, who suffered a broken bone in his hand but returned to the game after having the medical staff put a cast on the hand.
"He broke a little bone in his thumb and had to wear a cast,” Swinney said. “We have had it a few times. He will be re-evaluated in the morning. They are going to do another X-ray in the morning, but I don't think it will be anything that will keep him out of being able to play. Just got to protect it. It will certainly limit his ball skills but he still should be able to do everything else."
The most serious injury of the night occurred during warmups, as walk-on redshirt freshman defensive lineman James Edward dislocated his kneecap and will require surgery this week.