It’s Game Day in Death Valley where No. 2 Clemson hosts Wake Forest as the Tigers look to keep their championship run alive.
Location: Memorial Stadium (Death Valley)
Kickoff: 12 p.m.
Announcers: Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, Maria Taylor
2017 Record: Clemson 5-0, Wake Forest 4-1
ACC/SEC Record: Clemson 3-0, Wake Forest 1-1
Series History: Clemson leads 64-17-1
Last Meeting: Clemson won 35-13 in 2016 at Wake Forest
Clemson vs. Wake Forest Series
•Clemson owns 64 wins over Wake Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent. Clemson has 68 wins over South Carolina. Fifty-four of those wins against Wake Forest have taken place since the ACC was formed in 1953. Clemson is 36-7 against Wake Forest in games played in Clemson, and is 31-7 in Death Valley in the series that dates to a 13-0 Clemson win in Charlotte in 1933.
•Clemson has won eight in a row in the series, all under Head Coach Dabo Swinney,
by a combined score of 299-107. The Tigers won last year by a 35-13 score, and by a 33-13 score at Clemson in 2015.
•In 2011, the Tigers won 31-28 on a 43-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro on the
last play of the game. That gave the Tigers the Atlantic Division title
Clemson Near 50 Percent on Third Down
Clemson has converted on 49.3 percent of its third downs so far this year, 11th best in the nation and on pace to be the fourth best percentage in Clemson history. Last year’s National Championship team converted 50.2 percent of its third down opportunities, second best in school history. The record was set in 1978, the first year the Clemson SID office tracked the stat. That year Clemson converted 99 of 192 third downs, a .516 figure.
The quarterback on that team was Steve Fuller. One of the reasons for Clemson’s third down success has been the passing of Kelly Bryant. On third down, Bryant has ompleted 22 of 37 passes for 339 yards and a touchdown without an interception. He has 19 third down passes that have resulted in a first down, 11th in the nation.
Tigers Face Improved Wake Forest Team
Clemson faces a 4-1 Wake Forest team on Saturday afternoon. That 4-1 mark is the best for a Wake Forest team heading into a game against Clemson since 2006 when Wake Forest was 5-0 entering a game with Clemson in Winston-Salem. Clemson won that game 27-17 thanks to a game changing play by the late Gaines Adams in the fourth quarter. Prior to that 2006 game you have to go back to 1979 to find the last time Wake Forest entered a game with Clemson with at least an 80 percent winning percentage given a minimum of five games played. The Tigers won that game against the 7-1 and 14th ranked Demon Deacons of John Mackovic, 31-0 thanks to another great play by a Tiger defender. Jeff Davis scored his only career touchdown in that game on a 17-yard interception return.
Bryant Starts 5-0
Kelly Bryant has been the leader of the Clemson offense so far, averaging 284 yards of total offense per game. He had 94 yards rushing and 186 passing for 280 total in the win over Virginia Tech. He actually got to the 100-yard rushing mark at one point, but got sacked and finished under the century mark.
Bryant is the first Clemson starting quarterback to start 5-0 since Tajh Boyd in 2011. Boyd won his first eight games as starter that year, his sophomore season, and that is the Clemson record for consecutive wins as a starting QB to begin a career.
Like Bryant, three of those first five wins for Boyd were over top 25 teams. Bryant does hold the upper hand in that they were top 15 wins (No. 13 Auburn, No. 14 Louisville and No. 12 Virginia Tech). Bryant ranks 10th in the nation in rushing touchdowns with
seven and 15th in total touchdowns. He is 22nd in the nation in completion percentage at .662.
More Than One Bryant Having Big Impact
While a guy named Bryant has keyed the Clemson offense, another Bryant has been a key for the Clemson defense. Defensive end Austin Bryant had another outstanding game last Saturday at Virginia Tech with 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception. The interception was the first of his career.
Bryant now has a team best 8.5 tackles for loss for the season best on the team and his five sacks are also best on the team. Bryant has 24 tackles, including 22 solo stops and has five quarterback pressures.
Clemson one of 17 Undefeated Teams
Clemson is off to a 5-0 start for the third straight year. The Tigers actually started 14-0 in 2015 and 9-0 in 2016. Clemson is one of 17 teams with an undefeated record as we head into October. Eight schools are 5-0 (Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Penn State, San Diego State, South Florida, Washington and Washington State). The other undefeated teams are Miami (3-0), Michigan (4-0), Navy (4-0), Oklahoma 94-0), TCU (4-0), UCF (3-0), Utah (4-0), Wisconsin (4-0) and USTA (4-0).
Robert – Clemson 42 Wake Forest 13
Will – Clemson 35 Wake Forest 10
Gavin – Clemson 38 Virginia Tech 14