So despite Palmer's ACC record 496 all-purpose yards, the Wolfpack was left to sort out a 62-48 loss that was mind-bogging if not simply wild.
Palmer had been largely a limited factor in many games for N.C. State this season, but his last two performances have been particularly impressive. He racked up 219 receiving yards, with three of his seven catches going for touchdowns.
"He's certainly got enough speed to run away," coach Tom O'Brien said.
Palmer's work on kickoffs has been a spark for the Wolfpack, which unfortunately had plenty of chances at fielding kicks based on Clemson's offensive display. But Palmer helped the Wolfpack try to keep pace, both in special teams and as another weapon for quarterback Mike Glennon.
Yet after the latest game, there's bound to be more discussion about N.C. State's defensive issues than Palmer's sterling effort.
WHAT'S AHEAD: The Wolfpack ends the regular season with a home game against Boston College, which has the worst record in the ACC.
The Wolfpack is often trying to keep up with rival North Carolina, but threatening to be part of a record that the Tar Heels were partially responsible for a week earlier probably wasn't a good idea. N.C. State's 62-48 loss at Clemson marked the second-highest scoring game in ACC history, only behind Georgia Tech's 68-50 victory against North Carolina a week earlier. The N.C. State-Clemson game appeared headed toward record territory, perhaps only denied when Clemson went scoreless in the fourth quarter.
"That's a really good offensive football team," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said of Clemson. "Not a good matchup for us."
N.C. State had never scored as many points and still lost the game as in the 62-48 setback at Clemson. The Wolfpack hadn't allowed that many points since Virginia put up 62 points in a 1996 game. Clemson's 754 yards of total offense were also a record against N.C. State's defense, which had allowed 745 to Florida State in 1995.
KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Shadrach Thornton has become the go-to player out of the backfield in terms of carrying the ball. The true freshman also has been a clutch player in the passing attack. He was third on the team with four catches for 53 yards at Clemson.
LOOKING GOOD: K Niklas Sade had seven of his nine kickoffs go into the end zone for touchbacks at Clemson. And one of his other boots was an onside kick attempt.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Wolfpack has been among the country's top teams in terms of sacking opposing quarterbacks. But that didn't hold up in the latest game when Clemson QB Tajh Boyd threw 44 passes without enduring a sack.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"We left too many points on the board, way too many opportunities to score." Coach Tom O'Brien, on the disappointment of not producing more points in a 62-48 loss at Clemson even though the Wolfpack exceeded the 40-point mark for the first time this season other than against Football Championship Subdivision opponent The Citadel.
WR Tobias Palmer's record-setting performance at Clemson included an ACC mark of 496 all-purpose yards. That exceeded former Wake Forest player John Leach's record of 411 yards in 1993. Palmer's school-record 277 yards of kickoff returns left him six yards short of the ACC record.
CB Juston Burris has two interceptions this season and they've both come against the Wolfpack's highest-ranked opponents. He picked off one pass in each game against Florida State and Clemson.
QB Mike Glennon threw for a career-high 493 yards in a five-touchdown outing at Clemson. For the senior, it marked the second-highest passing total in school history behind Shane Montgomery's 535 yards in 1989 against Duke.
TE Mario Carter produced a career-high 105 receiving yards on seven catches at Clemson. He's a senior.
RB Shadrach Thornton has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark three times as a true freshman. He has done it in back-to-back games after rushing for 114 yards on 21 carries at Clemson.
S Earl Wolff intercepted his second pass of the season in the game at Clemson. But the senior was more active as a tackler, matching his career-high total with 18 stops.