Clemson vs. Wake Forest: Do Demon Deacons Have Any Shot at Thursday Night Upset?

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 25, 2012

October 6, 2012; College Park, MD, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons players celerate a touchdown catch by fullback Tommy Bohanon (42) against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium. Maryland beat Wake Forest 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

Before we get into the marquee matchups of Notre Dame-Oklahoma and Georgia-Florida, we have ourselves a Top-25 team playing on Thursday night.

The No. 18 Clemson Tigers will travel to Groves Stadium to take on the 4-3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Both teams are heading in completely different directions—Clemson has won six of seven, while Wake Forest has lost three of its last five games.

It also doesn't look good for the Demon Deacons when you consider the fact that the Tigers have won five of the last six meetings against Wake Forest.

Will we see another bizarre upset on Thursday night?

Don't hold your breath.


How Wake Forest Can Win

The Demon Deacons are going to need a solid defensive performance to win this matchup. Much like last season, Clemson is an offensive machine that is averaging over 40 points per contest and has had four games in which it produced over 500 total yards of offense.

While covering talented wide receivers such as Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins is going to be difficult, Wake Forest can certainly help itself by slowing down the running game. Running back Andre Ellington is averaging over five yards a carry and has scored eight total touchdowns in the first seven games.

The good thing is that Wake Forest has shown potential in slowing down the ground game, as it has held its last two opponents to 53 rushing yards or less. We know what quarterback Tajh Boyd and the weapons around him are capable of, but making this Tigers offense one dimensional will at least give this Wake Forest defense a chance to get off the field.

Allow Ellington to run wild and things will get out of hand quickly, as it will only open up bigger plays for the passing game. For his career, Clemson is 8-3 when Ellington rushes for over 100 yards. 


Odds Wake Forest Pulls off the Upset

Regardless of whether Wake Forest does a good job on the defensive end, the fact is that this Clemson offense is going to score. We are talking about a unit that is as explosive as any in the country and was able to produce 37 points and over 400 yards of offense against Florida State earlier in the year.

Another problem is that Wake Forest has not exactly been an offensive juggernaut this season, as the Demon Deacons are 96th in the country in scoring offense and their 19 red-zone attempts are the fewest in the ACC.

Wake Forest will get a boost from wide receiver Michael Campanaro, as is reporting that the top playmaker will, in fact, play tonight. However, one guy is not going to be able to match the production of an entire Clemson team, especially with the Tigers defense showing signs of life last week.


Odds: 20 percent. I mean, it is a Thursday night home game for Wake Forest; you have to give them some type of credit, right?

Prediction: Clemson wins 49-21.

Note: All stats come from unless otherwise noted.