Last season, Clemson and Wake Forest matched up in a game in which the Tigers dominated 38-3, and started their late season run to the Atlantic Division Championship.
This will be the 76th meeting between the Tigers and the Demon Deacons on the gridiron. Clemson holds the all-time lead (57-17-1) in the series that dates back to 1933. Wake Forest, under the direction of Jim Grobe, are 2-8 on the season and 1-6 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons are coming off a 38-3 loss to N.C. State last weekend.
Wake Forest starts a freshman at quarterback in Tanner Price. The Demon Deacons are hoping that Price is starting to come into his own in the passing game. Price is also able to hurt teams with his feet if given running lanes.
Josh Harris and Josh Adams are leading Wake Forest on the ground this season. Harris is having the better season of the two, averaging 5.6 yards per carry with 5 touchdowns.
The Demon Deacons top two receivers this season have been Chris Givens and Devon Brown. They both have over 30 receptions. Givens is averaging 15.6 yards per catch with 4 touchdowns.
Linebacker Hunter Haynes leads the Wake Forest defense with 62 tackles. Haynes also has 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Another key player on the Demon Deacon defense is defensive tackle Kyle Wilber. Wilber is second on the team with 58 tackles. Wilber leads the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.
Who will win?
Clemson has an overall record of 5-5 and is 3-4 in the ACC. The Tigers are coming off a tough 16-13 loss at Florida State last week.
Kyle Parker played a solid game last weekend except for a couple of costly interceptions. Parker has 9 touchdowns through the air this season and will need to play well this weekend for the Tigers. Coach Dabo Swinney also stated that he would try to script Tajh Boyd into the gameplan for this weekend. Boyd will look to come in and give the offense a desperately needed spark.
The Clemson running game was impressive against Florida State. Jamie Harper played probably his best game of the season, rushing for 143 yards and accumulating 197 total yards. Harper will look to carry the offense this weekend and find several holes in the Wake Forest defense. Rod McDowell will also look to see more action this week and show off his big play capability.
Some young receivers have been stepping up as of late to become viable options through the air. DeAndre Hopkins leads the team with 31 receptions, and has set the Clemson reception record for a freshman. Jaron Brown is a playmaker that has to continue to be fed the ball.
Tight end Dwayne Allen is also a key part of the Tigers passing game. Allen has tallied 30 catches so far on the season.
The Clemson defense has been playing well of late and is the No. 9 scoring defense in the country, allowing 17.4 points per game.
Da’Quan Bowers is leading the nation with 13.5 sacks and has his eyes set on the single season sack record held by Keith Adams. Bowers also leads the team with 60 tackles and 22 tackles for loss. Andre Branch, Brandon Thompson, and Jarvis Jenkins have also been forces on the defensive line, accounting for 6 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
Quandon Christian, Corico Hawkins, and Brandon Maye have began to make more plays at linebacker, and they will need to continue to progress throughout the rest of the season.
Safeties Rashard Hall and DeAndre McDaniel are second and third on the team in tackles, with 57 and 55 respectively. Cornerbacks Marcus Gilchrist and Byron Maxwell have also been playing well of late, and will need to continue that this weekend. These four players have combined for 8 interceptions.
The Tigers need to come out ready to play to get their first road win this weekend. Last weeks loss was a tough one to swallow. A win this weekend would go along way to building the team’s confidence heading into the rivalry game against the Gamecocks from South Carolina.
Support the Tigers this weekend as they travel to Winston-Salem to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The game is at 2:00 pm on ESPN3.com.