Countdown to Kickoff: Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson

Countdown to Kickoff: Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson

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Countdown to Kickoff: Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson

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The ACC was hoping it could sell this game as a marquee matchup prior to last Saturday. The game was even being watched for a possible visit from ESPN’s College GameDay. At the time, Wake Forest had just one loss in conference play and was ranked No. 19 in the College Football Playoff Rankings.

It could have been dubbed as the de facto ACC Atlantic Division Championship Game.

However, the Demon Deacons did not hold up their end of the bargain and were humbled at Virginia Tech last week. Clemson, No. 3 in this week’s CFP Rankings, then thrashed NC State to clinch its fifth straight division title and punched its ticket to the ACC Championship Game next month.

But the Tigers still have a lot to play for and Wake Forest would love nothing more than to end Clemson’s CFP aspirations.

Game Information

Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson

Records: Clemson 10-0, 7-0 ACC; Wake Forest 7-2, 3-2 ACC)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV: ABC (Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky, Allison Williams)

Radio: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, C.J. Spiller, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather). SiriusXM 108, XM 193, Internet 955

Latest Line: Clemson minus-34.5 points

Series History

  • OVERALL: Clemson leads 66-17-1
  • HOME: Clemson leads 38-7
  • ROAD: Clemson leads 25-10-1
  • NEUTRAL: Clemson leads 3-0
  • LAST MEETING: Oct. 6, 2018 (63-3, Clemson)
  • STREAK: Clemson, Won 10

Three story lines

Wake Forest will be without star wide receiver Sage Surratt, who is lost for the season with a shoulder injury he suffered in the loss at Virginia Tech. He had 66 receptions for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns before being injured. He is just the sixth wideout in Wake Forest history to record a 1,000-yard season. Wide receiver Scotty Washington is also listed out for Saturday’s game.

Wake Forest and Clemson will match two of the top offensive teams in the ACC on Saturday. The Tigers and Deacons are the top two teams in the ACC in both scoring offense and total offense. Nationally, Wake Forest’s passing attack is 11th while Clemson’s pass defense is No. 2 in the country.

With school records now in hand, Clemson running back Travis Etienne is three rushing touchdowns away from breaking former Pittsburgh running back James Conner’s ACC record for rushing touchdowns (52) and three touchdowns of any kind from breaking Conner’s record for total touchdowns (56).

Wake Forest’s three players to watch

Jamie Newman, QB: Newman leads the ACC in passing yards per game at 287.1 yards. He has completed 64.5 percent of his passes, while throwing 22 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. He is also third on the team with 301 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. His 5 rushing touchdowns leads the team. He is also the ACC leader in total offense yards per game with 324.8 and is ninth in the nation.

Kendall Hinton, WR: Hinton a fifth-year senior, has been on a tear over the last four weeks. He has 34 receptions for 482 yards, an average of 120.5 yards per game. Hinton had a career-best 162 yards receiving on eight catches against Virginia Tech last week. His 482 yards over the last four games is the third most by a Power 5 receiver over that time period.

Carlos Basham, DE: Basham is 14th in the nation and second in the ACC in sacks with 7.5. He also ranks fourth in the ACC in tackles for loss with 1.44 per game.

Prediction:

Wake Forest will be without its two best wide receivers in Surratt and Washington. On defense, the Demon Deacons had already lost starting linebacker Justin Strnad and rover Luke Masterson for the season due to injuries. Wake is not as beat up as NC State was last week but losing its top two targets on offense will make life hard for Newman and the offense going against Clemson’s defense. Also, the Demon Deacons are struggling to run the football the last three games, including just 63 yards in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech. The Tigers on the other hand are rolling on both sides of the ball. The Tigers still have not allowed an opponent to gain 300 yards of offense this season and is giving up just 11.5 points and 251.5 yards per game, overall. On offense, Clemson has been unstoppable the last 5 weeks. The Tigers are averaging 52.6 points and 605.6 yards per game.

Score prediction: Clemson 55, Wake Forest 17

–Clemson and Wake Forest Athletic Communications contributed to this story

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