Kickoff: 12:00 PM
Location: Death Valley, Clemson, NC
Watch: ESPN2 (TV), WatchESPN (Online)
The Wake Forest Football team is looking for a huge upset this Saturday after coming off of an upsetting last-minute loss to Florida State. This game is going to be an extreme challenge for the Demon Deacons as Clemson is currently ranked number two in the nation in the Coaches and AP Poll. Clemson has a total of three top 15 wins this year: Auburn, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. This is a very impressive feat and not many teams get the opportunity to play three top 15 teams let alone beat all three teams.
The Deacs outplayed the Seminoles in many categories from last Saturday’s game including total yards (by nearly 100), first downs, and completion percentage. Had the Deacons won it would have put Florida State to 0-3 for the first time since 1976.
If Wake is going to stand a chance against the second best team in the nation, they need to match the Tiger’s prowess on both sides of the ball. On defense, coordinator Jay Sawvel and his players need to shut down the run and continue to disrupt passing plays. Cover men Jessie Bates and Amari Henderson need to continue their strong play and shut down the arm of quarterback Kelly Bryant. John Wolford has been successful thus far at leading the Wake Forest offense, but if Wake Forest wants a win out of this game he is going to need an incredible performance. The Tigers boast one of the nation’s best defenses and will certainly be hoping to completely shut him down.
One Wake Forest player who can be a game changer is #89. Redshirt Freshman Greg Dortch has been playing outstanding football with five touchdowns and 352 receiving yards so far this season, 110 of which were against a very good Florida State defense. If he and Wolford can continue their strong connection and find holes in the Clemson secondary, look for the Deacon’s running game and play action strategy to be effective.
ESPN predicts that Wake Forest has a 7.7% chance of upsetting number two Clemson. Based on that and recent Clemson performances, I think Wake Forest will show a good effort against Clemson but will ultimately lose by a score of around 28-10. Death Valley is known nationwide as one of the most lively and raucous venues for an away college football team to play in. Expect the crowd to fire up the Clemson defense and disrupt the play calling of the Wake Forest offense. Wake might keep the game close in the first two quarters, but most of Clemson’s points will come late in the game, once they have figured out the Wake Forest offense and worn down our defense.
Final Score: Clemson 28 – Wake Forest 10