WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Clemson Insider handed out several helmet stickers in the aftermath of fourth-ranked Clemson’s 35-13 win at Wake Forest on Saturday night:
After throwing three interceptions in Clemson’s loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday, including two in the red zone, Watson took care of the ball against Wake Forest and orchestrated an offense that scored five touchdowns and recorded 456 yards. Watson had 202 yards passing, added 47 yards rushing and tossed a touchdown pass. In addition, Watson responded to the week-long chatter about his scaled-back rushing attempts and numbers by scoring two touchdowns on the ground, marking the first time he has scored multiple rushing touchdowns this season and the fifth time he has done so during his career. With the win, Watson moved to 28-3 all time as Clemson’s starting quarterback, and the junior’s three total scores put him two shy of becoming the second player (Tajh Boyd) in program history responsible for 200 touchdowns. His 249 yards of offense gave him 10,579 yards for his career, which is fourth in ACC history behind Philip Rivers of N.C. State, Boyd and Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech.
Williams paced Clemson’s receiving corps with six catches, 58 yards and a touchdown. His 15-yard touchdown reception from Watson on third down and 4 near the end of the first quarter put Clemson ahead 21-0. Williams also caught a 22-yard pass to convert another third down earlier in the same drive. The senior went over 1,000 yards receiving on the season with the touchdown catch and now has 1,014 receiving yards in 2016, joining Rod Gardner and Sammy Watkins as the only players in Clemson history with two seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards.
On his 21st birthday, Joseph led Clemson’s defense with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss. The two tackles for loss increased the linebacker’s season total to 10, which is second behind Christian Wilkins for the team lead. Joseph’s sacks both occurred on third down, and he also made a tackle short of the sticks on another third down as the defense held the Demon Deacons to a 2-of-15 conversion rate on third down.
Watkins, who finished with three tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss, was another key contributor defensively. The senior defensive tackle’s sack pushed his season total to a team-leading 7.5, the highest number of sacks by a Clemson defensive tackle since Trevor Pryce also had 7.5 in 1996.