Dan Scott: Wake Forest - Clemson Prediction
Clemson (4-2, 2-2) at Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3)
A week after being completely shut down by North Carolina, the Clemson offense looks for redemption. If Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe is to be believed, and the Deacons try to play aggressive and pressure quarterback Woody Dantzler, the senior may repeat his Georgia Tech and N.C. State performances. The receivers must catch passes and make plays. For Wake, establishing the running game and controlling clock, thereby keeping Danzler and Co. off the field, would be the smart way to go.
Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has decided to do what he knows best - attack. As the depth chart gets younger, Herring is getting more aggressive with his defense, and expect the Tigers to come at Wake Forest quarterbacks in waves all day. The Demon Deacons' defense has kept it in every game but one this season, though it did allow 35 points to winless Duke. Still, Grobe has this unit playing hard, physical and aggressive.
ADVANTAGE: Wake Forest
The lone bright spot in Clemson's 38-3 loss to North Carolina a week ago was the play of the special teams. Aaron Hunt kicked a career-long 48-yard field goal, punter Wynn Kopp had his second strong performance since nearly being benched, and the kickoffs and coverage units were strong, as well. Wake Forest kicker Ashe is 6-8 on field goals, but missed his only attempt of 40 yards or more. McPherson has emerged from a trio of punters to average 42.4 yards on 12 kicks.
Tommy Bowden and his staff have maintained a positive public persona this week, but privately they spent quite a bit of time searching for what went wrong against UNC. Still, this staff has shown the ability to get the team ready to play the week after a tough loss. Meanwhile, Grobe is trying to turn the Deacons into a physical force on both sides of the ball. Success will come slowly, if at all.
This is one the Tigers usually expect to win big, such as 2000's 55-7 score. The margin won't be that large, but Clemson gets back on the left side of the ledger today.
THE PICK: Clemson 35, Wake Forest 17