WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — It’s interesting a fourth-and-one play the week before delayed Clemson from clinching a spot in the ACC Championship Game. A week later, another fourth-and-one helped the fourth-ranked Tigers run in to the championship game.
On Clemson’s first possession on Saturday night at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, it moved the football to the Wake Forest 42, where it faced fourth-and-one. A week earlier against Pitt, the Tigers faced a similar situation late in the game. Needing a first down to seal a win and clinch the ACC Atlantic, running back Wayne Gallman was stopped for no gain.
Pitt took over on downs at its own 35 and drove down for the game-winning field goal.
Gallman, and Clemson’s maligned offensive line, were not denied on this Saturday. Gallman broke through a big hole off between the tackles and then bounced it outside for a 42-yard touchdown. Though it was not the winning score or seal a victory, Gallman’s run did, however, set the tone for the evening as the Tigers’ rushed for 254 yards in a 35-13 victory.
Gallman finished the night with 162 yards on 22 carries, while adding a final touchdown in the fourth quarter sealing Clemson’s win and berth in the ACC Championship Game, which will be played on Dec. 3 in the Orlando, Florida against either Virginia Tech or North Carolina.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson also rushed for two scores and had 47 yards on seven carries. Watson threw for 202 yards on 22 of 33 passing, which included a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams.
The Tigers (10-1, 7-1 ACC) finished the game with 456 yards.
Watson made the score 14-0 with a three-yard touchdown on third-and-goal with 6:22 to go in the first quarter. The touchdown run capped a seven-play, 59-yard drive.
Williams extend the lead to 21-0 with 1:10 to play in the opening quarter with his 15-yard touchdown on a fade to the end zone. Williams finished the game with six catches for 58 yards.
At one point, the Tigers converted on seven straight third down conversions and extend the lead to 28-0 with 12:44 to play in the half when Watson ran in from two yards out.
Wake Forest (6-5, 3-4 ACC) finally got things going when Ray Ray McCloud muffed a punt at the Clemson 27-yard line. Mike Weaver then nailed a 42-yard field goal four plays later to get on the board with 10:04 to play in the first half.
A 41-yard pass to tight end Cam Serigne set the Demon Deacons up deep in Clemson territory and running back Cade Carney finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run. That made the score 28-10 with 3:31 to play in the half.
Wake added another Weaver field goal in the third quarter to make the score 28-13, but Gallman’s one-yard touchdown with 10:50 to play in the game sealed the deal for the Tigers.
Clemson’s defense held the Demon Deacons to 197 total yards. Wake was just 2-for-15 on third downs.