Scouting Report: Tigers vs Wake Forest

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Wake Forest's Riley Skinner is the winningest quarterback in school history with 30 wins as a starter. (Photos: Icon SMI)

The Tigers welcome the Wake Forest Demon Deacons into Death Valley this weekend, and it always seem like there is some kind of drama either surrounding the Wake Forest game or surrounding the Clemson program once Wake week hits. This year is no different – the Tigers have stumbled out to a 2-3 start, but a win over Wake would give the Tigers a certain amount of control over their own destiny. Last week, the Deacons scored early and often and gained over 500 yards of total offense en route to a 42-32 victory over Maryland in their Homecoming game. The result was never really in doubt as the Demon Deacons took a 35-10 lead into halftime, improving to 4-2 overall (2-1 ACC) and currently sit in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division.


Riley Skinner, QB - Already owns school records for completion percentage (.673) and passing efficiency (132.33) in a career, and is the winningest quarterback in school history with 30 wins as a starter. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said earlier this week that Skinner leads an offense that will be the best Clemson has faced so far, and mentioned that Skinner’s 30-plus career starts give him a level of “gamesmanship” that set him apart from other quarterback. Swinney also said that Skinner’s ability to make plays on the run remind him of former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

John Russell, DL – The fifth-year senior is one of the best defensive linemen in the league. He started all 13 games for the Deacons last season, and was named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after his six-tackle, two-sack effort against Maryland last week.

Chris Givens, WR – The redshirt freshman trails Marsh Williams as the Demon Deacons leading receiver, but caught two touchdown passes last week against Maryland and now has 26 catches on the season. He also has 89 rushing yards as the Deacons try to get him wide on reverses. He also has 278 yards on kick returns, and he averages over 117 all-purpose yards per game for Wake, which leads the team. He has a chance to tie a school record with if he gains 100 yards receiving against the Tigers. If he does that, it would be his third consecutive game over the century mark.


Trey Bailey – The redshirt senior center is from Byrnes High School, and was a one-time teammate of Clemson’s Willy Korn, Chad Diehl and Stanley Hunter.

Cameron Ford – Ford is a redshirt sophomore tight end who played at T.L. Hanna high school.

Parkers and Skinners - One oddity is the fact that both teams have players from the same Jacksonville, FL high school with the same last name, but they are not related. Clemson’s Kyle Parker and Wake Forest’s Andrew Parker are close friends who played at Bartram Trail, but they are not related. The same goes for Clemson snapper Matt Skinner and Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner. Both attended Bolles School in Jacksonville, but they are not related.


WR Terence Davis, out for the year with a knee injury. ACL reconstruction.


Clemson owns 56 wins over Wake Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent. Clemson has 65 wins over South Carolina. Forty-six of those wins against Wake Forest have taken place since the ACC was formed in 1953. Clemson is 33-7 against Wake Forest in games played in Clemson and is 28-7 in Death Valley in the series that dates to a13-0 Clemson win in Charlotte in 1933.


It seems like Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe has Clemson’s number, but he actually just has a 3-5 record against Clemson in his eight years at Wake Forest. All three of the wins have taken place at Wake Forest. He is 0-3 in Death Valley and Wake Forest has not won at Clemson since 1998 when Jim Caldwell coached the Demon Deacons to a 29-19 win. Wake Forest has won just twice at Clemson since 1962 and Caldwell won both games.


“We don't see anybody that has more talent than Clemson. They've got a good coaching staff and they've played a brutal schedule. Georgia Tech and TCU are two of the top teams in the country. They've played both of them. [Death Valley] is an exciting atmosphere. The problem is it's hard to concentrate. Especially players that don't have experience playing in Death Valley, it will be a great challenge. It's really hard to play and concentrate for four quarters but that's what it's going to take. Not only concentrate, but play great football.” – Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe.

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