Clemson and Wake Forest come into Saturday’s game from different ends.
The Tigers are ranked third in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings and have won 25 games in a row. They’re also peaking at the right time, outscoring their last five opponents by an average score of 53-11.
After winning their first five games, the Demon Deacons have gone 2-2 over the last five weeks of the season and are reeling after losing star wide receiver Sage Surratt and team leader and starting middle linebacker Justin Strnad for the season due to injuries.
Now they must play a Clemson team that is hungry and is looking to take another step closer to defending their national championship in the CFP.
“The opponent this week presents every type of challenge you could ask for,” Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson said. “It is really amazing what Dabo (Swinney) and his staff have done down there. He and his staff have done a great job.
“It is the combination of great talent and an extremely well coached team. They do everything well. That is a credit to Dabo and his staff.”
But Swinney warns not to let Wake (7-2, 3-2 ACC) fool you. He says they are still a good football team and he knows they are going to get the Demon Deacons best shot.
Wake Forest is led by Jamie Newman at quarterback. He 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 lead the team as well. He is also the ACC leader in total offense yards per game with 324.8 and is ninth in the nation.
“Everything starts with this quarterback,” Swinney said. “He is a really good player. He is a pro.”
Wide receiver Kendall 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.
“He is elusive. He is a very good route runner and is as explosive as anybody we have played,” Swinney said.
The Deacons come into the game second in the ACC in total yards and scoring.
“They got a really group,” Swinney said. “They are kind of similar to us. They have a really good quarterback, an offensive line that is very well coached, is physical and they get after you.
“They have an identity and scheme that they believe in and they really understand how to run it.”
Now the question is can they do it against a Clemson team that is on a roll?
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