RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Enough of the negativity, North Carolina State was ready for something better.
The Wolfpack got back on track by beating Clemson 24-17 on Saturday, sending the Tigers to their second straight loss.
“You just have to believe,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. “You want to be great, you have to believe you’re going to be great. That’s what you have to have.”
KC Concepcion caught two touchdowns passes, including a 72-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter, and Payton Wilson returned an interception 15 yards for a score in the Wolfpack’s second win in three years over Clemson.
MJ Morris threw both touchdown passes, completing 11 of 20 throws for 138 yards for the Wolfpack (5-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). Concepcion finished with 134 yards of total offense.
“I’m just here doing what the team needs me to do,” Concepcion said. “It means everything that I can come here as a freshman and contribute to a winning team.”
Phil Mafah scored on a pair of 1-yard runs for Clemson (4-4, 2-4). The Tigers, the preseason No. 9 team nationally and defending ACC champions, will enter November in the bottom half of the conference standings.
“Something great is going to come from this,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “I don’t know what.”
On its final possession, Clemson reached the N.C. State 48 before stalling with a sack and an incomplete fourth-down pass.
Clemson’s 364-202 edge in total offense didn’t mean much and its streak of 12 seasons with 10 or more wins will come to a close with just four regular-season games remaining.
“We’re going have to start a new one,” Swinney said. “What a run. Historic. Nobody wants to hear it right now, but it’s historic.”
The Wolfpack had a week off since a 24-3 loss at Duke. That time wasn’t wasted.
“We just put our head down and worked,” N.C. State safety Devan Boykin said. “We had something to prove and we showed it.”
Doeren said the Wolfpack blocked out the noise that accompanied a two-game ACC skid.
“To rebound like that says a lot about our perseverance, our toughness,” Doeren said. “We’re going to keep being resilient.”
Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik was 33-for-50 for 263 yards and two interceptions.
Wilson grabbed a Klubnik pass deflected by teammate Devin Betty and dove into the end zone on the left side to complete the pick-six and give the Wolfpack its first touchdown in more than 27 minutes of game action.
Later in the third quarter, Concepcion raced 72 yards for a touchdown as the Wolfpack built a 24-7 lead.
Concepcion accounted for 59 of the 60 yards on the game’s first scoring drive, breaking off a 50-yard run that set up his 9-yard touchdown catch.
The Tigers had four first-quarter possessions, ending in three punts and an interception.
Clemson had only 32 rushing yards prior to Mafah’s 41-yard run that set up Jonathan Weitz’s 19-yard field goal at the 6:57 mark.
DOEREN TIES MARK
Doeren won for the 77th time with the Wolfpack, tying Earle Edwards (1954-70) for the top spot in program history. It marked Doeren’s 100th win overall as a head coach.
“That’s a benchmark for any head coach,” Doeren said. “There’s a lot of people who are a piece of that.”
Doeren won 23 games across two seasons at Northern Illinois prior to taking the N.C. State job.
SHIPLEY GOES OUT
Clemson running back Will Shipley was injured about midway through the second quarter when he was stopped at the 1-yard line at the end of an 11-yard reception. He didn’t return with an apparent upper-body injury.
Shipley was fifth in ACC rushing with 494 yards entering the game. He posted 21 yards on six carries Saturday.
Clemson’s offense was out of sorts at times. The Tigers were charted with 51 passing plays and 30 rushes. … Clemson has lost in its last two visits to Raleigh. The Wolfpack won for just the second time in the last 11 meetings overall.
Clemson: The Tigers trailed for the game’s final 52 minutes, with inconsistent offense cutting off any source of momentum. Clemson finished the road portion of its ACC slate with a 1-3 record in those games.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack scored two touchdowns on offense after going without reaching the end zone in its previous game against Duke, so that was a sign of progress. The defense carried a heavy load and showed that it was up to the task.
Clemson: Saturday home vs. No. 14 Notre Dame
N.C. State: Saturday home vs. Miami