No. 1 Clemson at Wake Forest
After an offseason of unexpected twists and turns, top-ranked Clemson will kick off the 125th season in program history tonight when the Tigers face Wake Forest at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, N.C. at 7:30 p.m.
Clemson has won 28 of its last 35 season openers. Head coach Dabo Swinney is 10-1 in his career in season opening games with the only loss coming at Georgia to open the 2014 season. Swinney’s 10 opening wins are second-most in school history, one ahead of Danny Ford.
Jackson Carman vs. Carlos Basham: Wake Forest defensive end Carlos Basham is one of the best defensive players in the ACC. He has received plenty of preseason accolades. After a breakout campaign which saw him record 11.0 sacks and 18.0 tackles for loss, Basham has earned preseason All-America honors from a multitude of publications while also being named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watchlist, the Chuck Bednarik Award Watchlist and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watchlist. Clemson’s Jackson Carman is an All-American candidate himself and was a first-team preseason All-ACC selection. Carman has held his own against some of the best in the past. In last year’s Fiesta Bowl, he helped hold Chase Young, the nation’s best defensive player, to no sacks. This is the best matchup to watch up.
Andrew Booth/Mario Goodrich vs. Donavon Greene: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Donavon Greene came into Wake Forest as one of the highest rated recruits in program history. After earning his redshirt, Greene suited up in the final four games of the season, pulling down 13 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns. This included a breakout performance against Syracuse when he had seven catches, 172 yards and a score. Goodrich has experience and was highly touted coming out of high school. Booth is a former five-star selection that is finally hundred percent and is coming off a very productive fall camp.
Mike Jones vs. Brandon Chapman: Chapman enters his fifth season in the Wake Forest program and is looking to follow in the footsteps of Cam Serigne and Jack Freudenthal who blossomed during their senior seasons in the Wake Forest offense. Earlier this offseason, the tight end was named a Mackey Trophy Watch List member, given to the best tight end in the country. Jones had a great camp. He feels the spot at linebacker left open by Isaiah Simmons, who is now playing for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL. The coaches have raved about Jones’ natural instincts and his progression in Brent Venables’ defense.
Bottom line: Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson admitted earlier this week his team did very little tackling in preseason camp as he tried to keep his players as safe as possible during the pandemic. Clawson said his team scrimmaged just once and had a half scrimmage. They usually scrimmage three times during camp and have a half scrimmage. On the other side, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he did not change things up regarding tackling. The Tigers scrimmaged three times and had a situational scrimmage as they always do in camp. Clemson is one of the more physical teams in the country and trying to play the Tigers when you have not tackled much, will not bode well for Wake Forest.
Prediction: Clemson 52, Wake Forest 3
–Clemson and Wake Forest Athletic Communications contributed to this story
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