The 4-1-1 on Clemson's escape at Wake Forest

The 4-1-1 on Clemson's escape at Wake Forest

Football

The 4-1-1 on Clemson's escape at Wake Forest

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – No. 5 Clemson stayed unbeaten and moved to 2-0 in ACC play Saturday with a double-overtime victory over No. 21 Wake Forest at Truist Field. Here are four sequences that went a long way in determining the outcome, a turning point and a telling stat from the Tigers’ 51-45 win.

  • Wake often picked on Clemson’s shorthanded secondary with its tall receivers, and Jahmal Banks’ 36-yard scoring pluck over Fred Davis late in the first quarter cut the Tigers’ 14-0 lead in half. Clemson’s offense then bogged down a bit with back-to-back punts and just 32 yards on its next three possessions. That is, until D.J. Uiagalelei found freshman Antonio Williams down the sideline for a 39-yard completion on third-and-5, moving Clemson deep into Wake territory. B.T. Potter eventually connected on a 24-yard field goal, pushing the Tigers’ lead back to two possessions midway through the second quarter.
  • With the help of a couple of Clemson penalties in coverage, Wake marched 75 yards in six plays to again cut into the Tigers’ lead on Sam Hartman’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Banks with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second quarter. But Clemson put together a methodical 15-play drive complete with a couple of clutch throws from Uiagalelei to answer. After Uiagalelei found Antonio Williams on one third down to move Clemson into Wake territory, he fired a 12-yard completion to E.J. Williams from the far hash on third-and-9 to keep the drive alive at the Demon Deacons’ 32. Clemson again settled for a 38-yard field goal from Potter, but it not only added to the Tigers’ halftime lead but also quelled Wake’s first real wave of momentum.
  • Clemson trailed for the first time since its win over UConn last November when Wake took its opening possession of the second half and marched 68 yards complete with Hartman’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Donavon Greene. That lead grew to 28-20 when the Demon Deacons averaged 10 yards a snap on their next possession, which ended with Hartman’s 19-yard scoring toss to tight end Blake Whiteheart down the seam. But Clemson immediately answered again with its third scoring drive of at least 75 yards. Uiagalelei broke free for a 32-yard run on third-and-short to get Clemson into Wake territory before eventually finding Davis Allen for a 5-yard touchdown. He shook off a sack attempt to find Beaux Collins for the two-point conversion to draw Clemson even late in the third quarter.
  • Will Shipley barreled his way into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown with 11:16 left in the fourth quarter. It was sandwiched between a pair of Wake scores in a back-and-forth affair, though, unlike the Demon Deacons’ first five scoring drives, Clemson held Wake to three points. Justin Mascoll got a scrambling Hartman to the ground for just a 1-yard gain on third-and-5 in the red zone, forcing Wake to settle for Matthew Dennis’ 29-yard field goal. It gave the Demon Deacons a 38-35 lead with 8:07 remaining, one the Tigers erased again a few minutes later on Potter’s 52-yard field goal.

Turning point

The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, but after Clemson scored another touchdown to begin the second overtime on Uiagalelei’s 21-yard pass to tight end Davis Allen, Wake Forest had to have one, too. But a sack on Wake’s first play of the second extra period pushed the Demon Deacons behind the chains, and their last chance ended with an incompletion in the end zone on the game’s final snap.

Telling stat: 0

That’s how many fourth downs Wake Forest converted. Its lone chance came when it had to have it with the Demon Deacons facing fourth-and-6 with the game on the line in the second overtime, but Hartman’s final pass was broken up by Nate Wiggins in the end zone, a redemption of sorts for the Tigers’ secondary in a seesaw battle that came down to the final play.

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