Clemson will meet Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship on December 3rd in Orlando, Florida with the win 35-13 over Wake Forest. This will also be Clemson’s sixth consecutive season with ten wins or more, joining Alabama in the club. This is also Dabo Swinney’s fourth Atlantic Division championship (not counting 2012).
The wind was howling and the air was freezing as 31512 fans “filled” the stadium – most of the fans in the stadium were Clemson faithful.
Watson finished with a lackluster but efficient passing line of 22-33 for 202 yards, one score and zero picks.
The rushing game was much more effective, albeit against a relatively weak Wake Forest defense. Gallman rushed for 161 yards on 22 carries, including the 42 yard run on fourth down on the opening drive.
Watson was finally involved in the running game as he rushed for 47 yards and two scores on seven carries. Adam Choice also rushed six times for 34 yards in the second half.
Tavien Feaster finally saw the field, but he only ran for six yards on three rushes.
Williams again was the leading target as he caught six passes for 58 yards and a score. Leggett also had an solid day as he caught three passes for fifty yards.
Wake Forest’s Kyle Kearns struggled in his first start, as he was 7-18 for 126 yards and the Clemson defensive line harassed him all night long.
Carney rushed 18 times for 59 yards and a score, while his partner in crime rushed 10 times for 38 yards.
The Tigers were 7 for 15 on third down, and the Tigers were aggressive tonight by going for it on fourth down four times, converting two of them.
Wake Forest was an anemic 2 for 15 on third down as any momentum the Deacons had was evaporated on third downs.
On special teams, Ray Ray McCloud fumbled two punt returns (losing one) before being replaced by Artavis Scott.
Punting was an interesting affair because there was a strong wind that helped and hurt both teams at different times. Wake Forest’s freshman punter Dom Maggio struggled most of the night, but boomed an eighty-yard punt that was assisted due to the wind.
The Tigers were dominant to start the game, slept for a little while, and woke up to put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Deshaun Watson was more conservative than usual tonight and he did not turn the ball over. The pass catching corps dropped several of his bullets and had an average night.
Clemson’s defensive line was excellent, and the back seven was mostly disciplined as they pounded the overwhelmed Deacons into submission.
There were a few instances of poor tackling fits that seemed to be contagious, but by and large the Tiger defense was solid and sound.
This win ensured that the Tigers will get to play at least fourteen games, the next two against South Carolina at home and Virginia Tech in Orlando.
If the Tigers play in the future like they did on the 28-0 run, they will dominate opponents. If they play like they did in the 13 point run by Wake Forest for most of the second and third quarters, they will drop at least one if not both games.
This is really a tale of two Clemsons, and the question is: which team will show up?