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What We Heard: No. 2 Clemson 28, Wake Forest 14

Clemson remained untouched as it rolled on to a 28-14 victory over Wake Forest in Death Valley on homecoming Saturday. A dominant performance on the defensive side of the ball and early scoring locked in Clemson’s sixth win of the season.

Following the game, the media spoke to head coach Dabo Swinney, quarterback Kelly Bryant, defensive coordinator Brent Venables, and defensive end Austin Bryant.

Here is what we heard:

All week, Dabo Swinney emphasized the fact that Wake Forest is truly an underrated team. Although the Tigers came out on top, Swinney was still overly impressed with the Demon Deacons will to fight until the end.

“I have a lot of respect for Wake Forest,” Swinney said. “I knew those guys would play us very tough and they did. We got a long way to go but that was a great start to October.”

Week in and week out, Swinney’s goal is to remain undefeated. Clemson has been able to keep that goal alive with the help of quarterback Kelly Bryant, who has proved many people wrong thus far into the season.

Bryant was launching perfect throws right off the bat. One of which was on the opening drive of the game, where he hit Cain with a beautiful 28-yard touchdown pass. Though Bryant left the game early with a rolled ankle, he went 21-of-29 for 200 yards in the air while running for 39 yards on 12 carries.

A few younger wide receivers including Tee Higgins, Cornell Powell and Diondre Overton also made contributions to the Tigers’ win. Bryant said seeing the benefits of Clemson’s depth is exciting, but not shocking.

“We all have confidence that everyone in the offensive room can go out there and contribute,” he said. “To see guys like that go out and make plays was really big. A big confidence boost for them, as well.”

Clemson’s first-team defense completely dominated Wake Forest. Through three quarters against Clemson’s defense, Wake Forest had only 200 total yards. Overall, defensive coordinator Venables was pleased with his unit’s performance and only noticed a few slip-ups.

“I was proud of our guys,” Venables said. “Just had a few busts. But otherwise our guys came out with focus and intensity and set the tempo right away. Had a great mindset, and there will be some great teaching opportunities, but I thought our guys played really well and gave us a chance to win.”

One of those guys was Austin Bryant, who finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He said that the new-found Wake Forest team played as hard as he expected them to play.

“It was a competitive game,” Bryant said. “That’s not you’re normal Wake team. They play really hard on both sides of the ball. The stressed their offense there at the end of the game.”

Although the Demon Deacons (4-2, 1-2 ACC) scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Tigers (6-0, 4-0 ACC) were able to get it done at the end of the day. Saturday’s win marked Clemson’s 65th win over Wake Forest, the second-most against any opponent.

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