Clemson will take on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Saturday with the Atlantic Division title on the line. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Here are five numbers to note in preparation for this weekend’s contest…
17: Consecutive wins over unranked teams on the road for Clemson. With last week’s loss against Pittsburgh, many of the Tigers’ winning streaks ended. They included lengthy win streaks against unranked opponents, in home games, and in ACC games. One streak that remains intact, however, is Clemson’s 17-game win streak against unranked teams on the road. The streak began with a victory at Boston College on September 29, 2012, by a score of 45-31. Two of those wins have come in Winston-Salem against the Demon Deacons. The Tigers have road wins against three unranked opponents so far in 2016: Auburn (19-13), Georgia Tech (26-7), and Boston College (56-10).
23: Takeaways for Wake Forest’s defense. The Demon Deacons have a stingy defense this season, allowing only 21 points per game. However, they also rank right in the middle of the pack in both the ACC and the nation in yardage allowed. Turnovers allow them to ascend in spite of the yardage they tend to give up to the opposition. Only two other teams have forced more turnovers than the Demon Deacons this season, and they lead the ACC with a +9 turnover margin. In contrast, Clemson is tied for 113th in the country with 21 giveaways and has broken even in turnover margin this season. This could potentially be a problem spot for the Tigers in Saturday’s game.
24.3: Clemson’s margin of victory in the last seven games against Wake Forest. BB&T Field used to be a venue that struck fear into the hearts of fans for its sleepy atmosphere that has enabled defeat to sneak up on the Tigers a few times throughout history. Lately, however, this has become a lopsided matchup. Since 2008, when a 12-7 Wake Forest win on a Thursday night became the straw that broke Tommy Bowden’s back, Clemson has not lost to the Demon Deacons. Outside of the 2011 game, when a Chandler Catanzaro field goal at the buzzer gave Clemson the Atlantic Division title, each game has been decided by 14 points or more. Five of the seven have featured final margins of 20 or more points, and Clemson’s average margin of victory in Winston-Salem during the streak has been 21 points.
35.4: Penalty yards per game against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have been one of the nation’s least penalized teams this season, as they have been whistled for only 4.6 flags per contest. They rank inside the top 12 in both of these categories. That makes this opponent an exception on Clemson’s schedule this year. The Tigers have played some of the most heavily-penalized teams in the nation this season, including Florida State, Louisville, and NC State. Meanwhile, only Georgia Tech and Auburn have been more disciplined than Wake Forest. The Tigers will not be able to rely on Saturday’s opponent to beat itself.
387: Number of pass attempts for Deshaun Watson this season. Only four quarterbacks—Davis Webb (Cal), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), Luke Falk (Washington State), and David Blough (Purdue)—have thrown more passes than Watson so far. Last season, Watson’s 391 pass attempts ranked eighth in the nation, but his 32.7 attempts per game average wasn’t even inside the top 30. Meanwhile, this season, Watson is eighth in the country in pass attempts per game. Much has been made of Watson’s sloppiness with the ball this season, but a heavier workload almost necessitates throwing more interceptions. Watson has thrown 13 picks in 2016, tied for second-worst in the nation among Power 5 passers. That’s roughly eight fewer passes per interception than last season, only an increase of 0.8 percent in terms of interception rate.