Preview: Clemson 10-0 and 7-0 inside the ACC and newly crowned Atlantic Division Champs look to close out the ACC regular season schedule at a perfect 8-0. The Tigers also look to preserve their current ACC win streak (21) , Home Winning Streak (22) and Overall Winning steak (26). This 2019 Clemson senior class is attempting to win their 52nd game in the last four years to move into fourth for the most career victories by a senior class in FBS history. Clemson is attempting to go undefeated at home in three straight seasons for the first time since 1981-83, which included a ties in 1982 and 1983.
In the way of all these milestones stand the Demon Deacons’ of Wake Forest. The Deac’s come into this contest off a loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last Saturday. A day that also saw them lose their star Wide Receiver Sage Surratt to injury for the season. This now makes 2 star Wideouts in two weeks to go down and not be available for Budding QB Jamie Newman. The boys from Winston-Salem have had a good year and roll into Tiger-Town with an 7-2 mark on the season, marked improvement for Coach Clawson and his 2019 version of the Deacons. Last year Saw the Tigers walk into BB&T Field and blister the Wake team to the tune of 63-3…in a game that saw Clemson unleash its full arsenal of offensive weapons ,while at the same time stopping anything the Deacons attempted offensively all day.
When Clemson has the ball:
Look for the Tigers to use the entire playbook here on Senior Day… Sophomore QB Trevor Lawrence against an very over matched secondary for the Deacs’ will have his way and get the ball out early and often, and it will be distributed all over the field. This will stretch this Wake defense beyond its abilities. Then a heavy dose of Travis Etienne will see the Tigers rinse and repeat the past 5 performances of the season,as they will literally do as they please all game long. This Deacons defense will not be able to match up to what the Tigers have sitting in the ammo chest here with depth and talent constantly wearing down the lack of each the Deacs have to counter. Lawrence, will have another efficient and big day as explosive plays in the passing game look to be the way early in this game. Look for a strike deep to Higgins inside the first series as a harbinger of things to come, and then it’s all about ET9 and his abilities and the cast of talent that continues to stream onto the field. Wake just has no answers and will like the rest of this Tigers schedule this year and wear down in the latter parts of the third quarter. By that point in the game, the damage is done and the Tigers are celebrating their seniors and subbing in reserves as they empty the benches.
When Wake Forest has the ball: QB Newman has passed for 2297 with 22 TD’s and 7 interceptions at a 57.9% completion rate. Now keep in mind his top two targets all season Surratt and Washington are now out for the season. Losing the two big-bodied wideouts in consecutive weeks is a huge blow to Dave Clawson’s team. When it comes to rushing, team leader rusher Cade Carney has carried the ball for 429 for yards on 77 attempts for 3.7 average and 3 touchdowns. The Deacs employ a zone scheme that has a very long “mesh point” that forces opposing defenses stay very disciplined …in gap control and on the back end. Not falling for the quick “pull and pass” will be paramount for the Clemson secondary. The way Clemson will do this is by pressing the Wideouts ,and taking away all the timing routes that come out of this modern version of the triple option. Do that …..and stay gap sound in the ‘A’ gaps and you take away 2 of the 3 options this offense tries to create.
Lastly “setting the edge” is huge for this game, then you have taken all 3 options off the table and you can shut the Deacons down. Clemson will follow Virginia Tech’s lead from last week and disrupt that mesh point and stay in the gaps and create havoc all day in the Wake backfield. Look for the cast of characters that are this defense to showcase their skill-set all afternoon. Simmons, Wallace, Muse and company will be causing trouble for the Wake passing game, as they will be inserted all over the zones and you will see some things that will confuse the Wake QB all day. Bottom line here. Wake will find a few plays and move the ball at times but that will be adjusted to and shut down. Clemson and defensive coordinator Brent Venables will adjust early and then apply pressure like the Deacs’ have never seen.
Wake Forest: Place Kicker Nick Skiba 16/16 long of 40 ….Dom Maggio has a 46.0 yard average to continue the trend of Ray Guy look alike’s that seem to roll out each and every Saturday.
Clemson: Will Spiers the senior Punter is averaging 42.3 yards per kick as he enters his last game inside Death Valley. And the Tigers Place kicker BT Potter is 8/14 with a long of 51 yards.
Prediction: Clemson 55 Wake Forest 13