Clemson vs. Wake Forest prediction

by - Senior Writer -
Can Clemson's offense do enough to pull away?  Or will the Tigers turn to Watson if the offense stalls?
Can Clemson's offense do enough to pull away? Or will the Tigers turn to Watson if the offense stalls?

Clemson and Wake Forest will kick it off for the 79th consecutive season Thursday night in Winston-Salem, with Clemson winning 61 of the previous 78 meetings.

Thursday’s contest looks like the kind of game in which the Tigers will get win number 62. The teams appear to be heading in opposite directions – Clemson has won five games in a row while the Demon Deacons have lost four in a row.

Can Wake Forest mount enough of an offensive attack to hold off the Tigers? Will Clemson’s Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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turn to freshman sensation Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 204
Gainesville, GA

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if the Clemson offense stalls? Or will the Tigers ride out of Winston-Salem with an easy win?

WHAT: No. 21 Clemson at Wake Forest

WHERE:BB&T Field – Winston-Salem, NC (31,500)

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 6th (7:30 p.m.)

SPREAD: Clemson by 21

TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack, Samantha Ponder)


*Clemson’s offense has been stagnant without Watson – The Tigers have just three touchdowns over the last three weeks without the freshman from Gainesville, and there have been times when the offense is hard to watch. Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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once had a vertical passing attack and a running back that could stretch the field – these days the offense is stuck with passing plays around the line of scrimmage and a ground game that only gets in gear in the fourth quarter.

Wake Forest is in the middle of the pack in the ACC in total defense, but their pass defense is ranked second (behind Clemson) in the conference. Despite all of their struggles, Wake is still giving up just 24.6 points per game. If they can keep it close, they might have a shot.

*Special teams – It seems like every game Clemson has played this season, the opposing punter has looked like Ray Guy and boomed punts all over the field. As a result, the Tigers have had terrible field position in several games, and it doesn’t get any easier this week. Wake’s Alex Kinal is currently 28th in the nation in punting average at 43.6 yards per punt. Thanks to his efforts, Wake Forest ranks sixth nationally in net punting at 42.3 per punt. He already owns the Wake Forest record for career punts with 234 (a dubious record), but Kinal has punted 53 times this season and does not have a single touchback. Only 11 of Kinal’s 53 punts this season have been returned, and in a game that might be low-scoring he could five the Deacons an advantage. Field goal kicker Mike Weaver has hit all nine of his attempts this season, and we know the struggles that Clemson’s Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS Jr. Kicker
#36 5-10, 200
Alpharetta, GA

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has had on the road.

*It’s a Thursday night in Winston-Salem – Believe it or not, the Deacs are 4-1 all-time in Thursday night games at BB&T Field. The lone loss? Two years ago to Clemson. Will Clemson be overlooking an overmatched opponent and be looking ahead to Georgia Tech?


*Wake’s offense is really, really bad – Wake Forest is dead last in total offense. The Deacs average just 213.5 yards per game, and 36 yards behind the second-worst team and 52 yards behind the third-worst. The numbers get even uglier when you dig deeper – Wake is averaging 164.3 yards per game in conference games, averaging 188.7 against FBS foes and a whopping 126 yards per game against ranked foes. That’s bad. As in really bad. Did I mention that they were also dead last in the nation in rushing offense? They average 34.50 yards per game.

Freshman quarterback John Wolford has thrown 13 interceptions but has been constantly under pressure, getting sacked a total of 28 times this season. Clemson’s defense has 30 sacks this year, so if the Deacons can’t establish a rushing attack and have to throw it, it could get ugly.

*The Tigers are getting healthy – Clemson is lucky in that many of these injuries have occurred in the softest part of the schedule. The Tigers get tight end Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
So. Tight End
#16 6-5, 251
Navarre, FL

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back this week, and he will be a weapon for Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Sr. Quarterback
#18 6-4, 231
Dublin, OH

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or Watson. The game should also feature the Clemson debut of running back Tyshon DyeTyshon Dye
RS Fr. Running Back
#23 5-11, 214
Elberton, GA

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– by all accounts we’ve heard Dye has looked good in practice, and he’s the kind of physical runner that Morris has been needing to get involved in this offense. It’s just a matter of time before Clemson’s offense begins to click, and if Stoudt’s shoulder is improved and the offensive line can open some holes, it will make scoring points a lot easier.

*Simply put, Clemson is just better – This is the kind of game that the Tigers have won consistently under Swinney. Out of Tommy BowdenTommy Bowden
Head Coach
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’s 45 losses, 24 were to unranked teams. Under Swinney, the Tigers have beaten 24 unranked teams in a row. Other teams in the state would love to say the same thing. Clemson has a lot of NFL talent all over the field, and while Wake has some freshmen that have stepped up this season, they are still very, very young.


Don’t be surprised if the Tigers struggle to get acclimated early. The offense – as we mentioned – has been stuck in neutral for a while but if Stoudt is healthy the Tigers can take more shots down the field. If Stoudt struggles, Swinney probably won’t hesitate to insert Watson into the game to get a spark.

The Tigers have reshuffled the offensive line this week – Reid WebsterReid Webster
RS Sr. Offensive Tackle
#77 6-3, 300
Woodstock, GA

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will start at center and Tyrone CrowderTyrone Crowder
RS Fr. Offensive Guard
#55 6-2, 322
Marston, NC

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takes over at right guard. The Tigers will have success running behind Crowder and right tackle Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Sr. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 340
Chester, SC

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and will gain enough yards to keep the defense honest. Along the way, Mike WilliamsMike Williams
So. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 208
Vance, SC

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or Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
Fr. Wide Receiver
#3 5-11, 190
Oldsmar, FL

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get untracked and the passing game clicks enough to score points. This one should see the Tigers comfortably ahead by midway through the third quarter.


Mickey Plyler - 6AM-9AM EST on WCCP 105.5FM - 31-10 Clemson

Tony Crumpton - TigerNet's Associate Editor - 34-10 Clemson

Nikki Steele - TigerNet Writer - 30-3 Clemson

Lawton Swann - Clemson Sports Talk / TigerNet Talk - 31-0 Clemson

Pigskin Prophet - 27-3 Clemson

Dutch Coleman - 9AM-12PM EST on WCCP 105.5FM - 31-3 Clemson

Game Actual David Hood Mickey Plyler Tony Crumpton Nikki Steele Lawton Swann Pigskin Prophet Dutch Coleman
UGA 45-21 UGA 27-24 CU 27-23 CU 28-27 CU 24-21 UGA 31-23 CU 23-16 CU 31-20 CU
SC St 73-7 CU 44-10 CU 45-10 CU 49-13 CU 52-10 CU 43-7 CU 44-10 CU 52-13 CU
FSU 23-17 FSU 27-23 FSU 31-23 FSU 31-21 FSU 30-24 FSU 35-31 CU 31-28 CU 27-24 CU
UNC 50-35 CU 45-17 CU 48-20 CU 42-24 CU 42-17 CU 51-27 CU 41-21 CU 49-17 CU
NCSU 41-0 CU 37-23 CU 41-27 CU 48-25 CU 42-28 CU 42-27 CU 38-28 CU 42-21 CU
LOU 23-17 CU 37-20 CU 31-17 CU 35-17 CU 38-14 CU 45-18 CU 27-17 CU 38-17 CU
BC 17-13 CU 27-21 CU 24-23 CU 24-17 CU 28-10 CU 34-20 CU 27-23 CU 24-20 CU
SYR 16-6 CU 27-10 CU 31-13 CU 34-14 CU 30-7 CU 34-13 CU 30-13 CU 31-9 CU
Points - 11 7 9 12 8 8 8

* Points: 3 pts for best prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 1pt for picking the correct winner

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