Clemson vs. Wake Postgame Notes and Quotes
Wake Forest Head Coach Dave Clawson
“I think we lost the battle on the line of scrimmage, and I think that’s probably an understatement. Again, at times when we were on offense, we were efficient, but we did not make explosive plays. Conversely, we gave up four touchdowns over our heads, and that’s the football game. Clemson has really skilled receivers and we didn’t get much of a pass rush to help in covering them and, with that being said, we aren’t going to score a lot of points against that defense right now.”
On how good of a football team Clemson is:
“They’re really good. They are a good football team, and I think that showed today.”
On using two quarterbacks to give Clemson different looks:
“When Kendall (Hinton) is out there, at times, he doesn’t get the ball with John (Wolford) at the helm, so using him in a two-quarterback scheme allows him to still influence the play. He (Hinton) is our best open-space athlete on the football team. We create opportunities for him to get the ball in space. If it’s at receiver, running back, quarterback, etc., when he gets the ball in space, he is dynamic. John is our most knowledgeable quarterback. He understands our offense the best and he is our most accurate passer. Using this scheme against a defense like Clemson gave us opportunities. It’s a good problem to have, figuring out ways to play both of them and maximize both of their talents, but today, it just didn’t translate into points.”
On having and traveling so many freshmen and sophomores:
“We look forward when we’re an older football team and an experienced football team. We played one today. And we have to be so perfect against a team like that. And we’re just not there yet. They get their touchdowns and their points so easily.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
“The fun is in the winning, and we’ve done a great job of accomplishing the objective. For these seniors to win their 43rd game on Senior Day, this is a great group, I’m really proud of them.
“I want to thank our fans, too. It even rained today. It was supposed to be a perfect day, but it rained again and our fans still came out.
“The defense held them to 152 yards and we outgained them by 400 yards. We really were a dominant team tonight. Deshaun (Watson) had another big night. He had one throw he really would like back, but he played well.
“We got to play a lot of guys tonight, and some of them even got to touch the ball, which is really exciting for them on Senior Day. I’m excited to be 11-0. That’s what this senior group has done...they’ve won and made this program better and they're leaving it better than when they came, which is what a legacy is all about. We have state championship week now and a chance to go 12-0, so we have to play our best game of the year, and we are going to prepare to do that.”
On staying undefeated:
“Tim Bourret was telling me about some of the things that happened in college football today. Florida needed overtime to beat Florida Atlantic. There are only three teams left undefeated, and I went in there and talked to the players and said, ‘we may not always be perfect, we make mistakes, but we win.’ To win 20 out of 21 and 14 in a row, it speaks volume for the type of guys we have, but also for the kind of culture that we have created.”
Clemson Offensive Guard Eric Mac Lain
General thoughts of his last game in Death Valley:
“We got every single last one of us in there. Jordan Bianchi had a great catch on a screen play. It was great to see those guys get a chance to play. Last home game in Death Valley and the fans definitely showed up. I’ve got much love for all of them.”
On the other seniors that don’t get as many reps but saw playing time tonight:
“Them being able to play tonight is special. A little tear drop came from my eyes...that was the only time, though. It was a great day.”
On taking control of the game early:
“Yes, we were really excited that those guys got a shot. We knew coming in that we would have a chance to throw the ball and we’re thankful we could take advantage.”
On what has made this senior class so special:
“I think the leadership that we have been able to acquire and growth throughout the year. The love and compassion this team has for each other, not just on the senior level, but the freshmen on up, it is honestly the most I have ever been around.”
Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson
On the fast start:
“Yes, we started off fast. That is our goal each and every week, to start off fast and jump on the other team. The defense did their job to get us the ball back.”
On if they need to work on finishing teams off rather than letting them hang around:
“It is what it is. It was Senior Day, so we wanted to get a lot of guys playing time. We wanted to rotate a lot of guys in and let them have a chance to play in their last game in Death Valley.”
On Wake Forest selling out against the run:
“Yes, they tried to stop our run game. If you do that, then you’re going to have to stop the passing game, so we were very versatile and balanced.”
Clemson Wide Receiver Charone Peake
On scoring a touchdown in his final home game:
“It meant a lot. There was a lot of emotion coming into this game, so it meant a lot to score in my last home game.”
On if he walks away from this game feeling good about the win or feeling bad they they didn’t play as well in the second half:
“Yes, I feel like we didn’t finish as well as we could have, we started off great, but then we started turning the ball over like last week at Syracuse, and turnovers are never good. We will correct those.”
On how good it feels to finally be the guy getting the downfield shots:
“It feels good to finally be one of the guys that is counted on to make the big plays. I take pride in that and enjoy doing my job.”
On South Carolina:
“When we play, records go out the door and it comes down to who wants it more.”
Clemson Defensive End Kevin Dodd
On coach Venables being upset:
“We just haven’t played the way we’re capable of playing. It’s not talent-wise. It was just minor stuff that we just had to get corrected, and we got it done tonight.”
On the South Carolina game:
“We haven’t won up there in awhile, and this would be a really special win for us.”
Clemson Safety Jayron Kearse
On coach Venables challenging the defense:
“It’s our decision to go out and show the world what we wanna be and what we’re made of. He didn’t really challenge us...he told us we are what we put on tape.”
On the team’s performance:
“We should play better. We gave up 13 points...that’s too much. But it’s definitely indicative of how we should play. We go out there and our guys give the effort every time in all three levels, special teams, offense and defense. We’ve gotta go out there and show that we are the best team in the nation.”
On playing South Carolina next week:
“I know they’re gonna give their all. You know everybody who plays Clemson is gonna give their all. We’re the No. 1 team in the nation. Everybody is going to try to spoil what we’ve got. Wake Forest was trying to do the same thing, so I don’t see it being any different than what South Carolina is going to try to do. We have to go out there and give it everything we have and try to come out on top.”
Clemson Defensive Tackle D.J. Reader
On coming down the Hill for the last time:
“It was emotional. It was good to get down there early. It’s been a good ride and good to play at home. I’m excited for the rest of the season. You never get to play at a place like this unless you’re here. It was very emotional for me, but I got through it.”
On the defense the week after the Syracuse game:
“We’ve got challenges, and I feel like we stepped up to the challenges. That’s what defense is all about. We get backed into a corner sometimes, but we have to answer. I think this week we really answered those questions.”
Clemson is 11-0 for just the third time in school history. The other seasons were 1948 and 1981. Clemson finished 11-0 in 1948 and finished 12-0 and won the national championship in 1981.
This is the fifth time Clemson has won at least 11 games, but the third time in the last four years. Dabo Swinney has been the head coach for three of the five seasons Clemson has won at least 11 games.
Clemson has won 14 straight games, the second-longest winning streak in school history. It is the longest winning streak since the Tigers had the record 15-game winning streak between 1947-49.
Clemson has won 20 of its last 21 games, the best 21-game record in Clemson history. The previous best was a 19-1-1 record between 1980-82.
Clemson finishes the ACC regular season with an 8-0 record. This is the first Clemson team to go 8-0 in the regular season in league games. It is the first undefeated record against ACC teams for the program since 1983, when Clemson finished 7-0.
Clemson has won 36 straight against teams unranked by the AP or USA Today polls. Clemson has won 38 games in a row against teams not ranked by Associated Press. Only Alabama has a longer streak with 59 in a row.
Today was the 700th win in Clemson history. Clemson is the 23rd program in FBS history to reach 700 wins and the fifth this year. Florida won its 700th game last weekend at South Carolina.
This was the 43rd victory for Clemson’s seniors. They set the school record with this victory. The seniors are now 43-7, and that 86.0 winning percentage is also a Clemson record.
Today was the 28th ACC regular-season win for this senior class, also a school record. It actually set that record last weekend with the win at Syracuse. The group finishes with a 28-4 record in ACC regular-season play.
Today was the 16th consecutive home victory for Clemson, already a school record. Clemson has the second-longest home winning streak in the country. Only Florida State has a longer home winning streak.
Clemson’s seniors closed their career with a 26-2 home record, tied for the most home wins for a senior class. The 2014 senior class also had a 26-2 mark.
Clemson finished 7-0 at home for the second straight year. It is the first time Clemson has had consecutive perfect seasons at home since 1950,51, when Frank Howard’s teams went 4-0 in consecutive years. Clemson had three consecutive unbeaten home seasons between 1981-83, but the 1982 and 1983 teams had one tie.
Clemson totaled 552 yards on offense, a seventh straight game with at least 500 yards. That is a school record.
Clemson Individual Notes
With his touchdown reception in the first half, Deon Cain became the second first-year freshman in Clemson history to record a touchdown reception in four consecutive games. Sammy Watkins was the other in 2011.
Germone Hopper recorded his first touchdown of the season on a 47-yard pass from Deshaun Watson in the first half.
Germone Hopper notched a season high in receiving yards (120).
Kevin Dodd has a recovered fumble in consecutive games.
With Mitch Hyatt and Jake Fruhmorgen starting, it is the first time since the 1943 South Carolina game that two first-year freshmen started for the Tigers at offensive tackle. In 1943, freshmen offensive linemen Carroll Gainer and Pitts Seay started. Gainer weighed 183 pounds and Seay weighed 195 pounds.
Senior Jordan Bianchi recorded his first career reception in the fourth quarter.
Senior Brennan Goodnature had his first career carry in the fourth quarter, good for six yards.
Dabo Swinney is 46-6 at home as Clemson’s head coach. He is 27-3 against ACC teams, and one of the losses was his first game against Georgia Tech in 2008 when he had taken over the program the Monday before the game.
Swinney is tied for third in coaching victories in Clemson history with 72. He tied his predecessor, Tommy Bowden, with today’s victory. Bowden was 72-47 between 1999-08. Swinney is 72-26 since he took over for Bowden in October 2008.
Swinney’s 100th game as Clemson’s head coach will be the ACC Championship Game on December 5.
Clemson offensive lineman Eric Mac Lain is now the winningest player in Clemson history. He played in his 43rd win today, more than any other Tiger. He is the only senior to play in every game the last four years. Adam Humphries, Robert Smith and DeShawn Williams had the record entering this year, having played in 42 wins between 2011-14.
Deshaun Watson improved to 15-1 as Clemson’s starting quarterback, including 14-0 in games he started and finished.