Wake Forest Review
|Monday, November 21, 2016, 9:38 AM- -|
Wake Forest Review
There is an old joke that says, "the harshest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in Cleveland." I am not sure what it is about Winston-Salem, but I am starting to believe the weather there is worst than Cleveland. It seems like the trip there every two years is usually surrounded by awful weather and this year was no different. It took layers upon layers of clothing to make this game bearable. Hats off to the thousands of Clemson fans who made the trip. It is rare, but the visiting team had more fans than the home team. The stadium looked great with all of the orange.
A fast start and a huge talent level difference helped the Tigers secure their fifth Atlantic Division title in eight years and sends Clemson to the ACC title game for the fourth time in that span.
Everything went right in the first 18 minutes of the game as Clemson built the 28-0 lead. The offense was balanced, and it needed to be due to the wind. The running game was the key to the win, and the offensive line had perhaps its most impressive outing.
Wayne Gallman credited the offensive line, but he ran better, and the scheme was better too. Clemson ran some pistol formation for the first time in weeks and Gallman was able to get downhill. Gallman finished with 161 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. His 161 yards were a season high.
Clemson ran for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Deshaun Watson had seven carries for 47 yards and two rushing touchdowns. On a tough night due to the cold and wind, Watson went 23 of 33 for 202 yards and a beautiful touchdown to Mike Williams.
Defensively, Clemson held Wake Forest to nine first downs and 197 total yards. The Tigers held Wake to 71 rushing yards. Wake is not a dangerous offense, and Clemson benefitted from facing a backup at quarterback, but this was a terrific effort from Brent Venables' defense.
Special teams had a set back with another Ray Ray McCloud fumbled punt, but the rest of the special teams were solid.
Another positive was the Tigers emerged pretty healthy heading into the regular season finale.
Championships are tough to come by, and I don't like it when we gloss over any title. I am celebrating this Atlantic Division championship. This one was not easy. Clemson had to overcome eight-point deficits against Louisville and Florida State. The Tigers had to steal a win over NC State. This title was not easy, so I take pride in this title. I wish the ACC title game was in Charlotte but we to Orlando in two weeks to support the Tigers who are in search of their first back-to-back ACC championships since 1986-87. But first, the Tigers begin Rivalry Week and now its on the hated arch rivals, the chickens.
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