Tigers blast Deacons, earn road win to become bowl eligible

by - Senior Writer -
Jaron Brown led the receivers with 5 catches with 93 yards.

WINSTON-SALEM – Da’Quan Bowers and the Clemson defense displayed their usual excellence, the offense finally found some success in the red-zone and Chandler Catanzaro kicked three field goals as the Tigers defeated Wake Forest 30-10 Saturday afternoon at BB&T Field, Clemson’s first road win of the season.

The win also makes the Tigers (6-5 overall, 4-4 ACC) bowl eligible for the 12th consecutive season.

The Tigers got 142 rushing yards from Jamie Harper, including a 63-yard touchdown run in the second half. Quarterback Kyle Parker had a solid day, finishing 15-for-17 for 194 yards and the two touchdowns in just over three quarters of work.

“It was a good solid win,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Better late than never for us to break through and finally get that road win that’s been escaping us all season long. It was a really good second half for us. We talked about it at halftime, trying to put the game away – getting a stop and getting a score – and that’s just what we did.

“Just a lot of good things for the whole football team. Thank God for new beginnings. That’s what we talked about, that it’s a fresh day, and it’s a new day, and let’s go make it a good one. That’s what our team did with a good solid win.”

Clemson took the opening possession and jumped on the board first, using nine plays to go 39 yards. The drive ended on a 43-yard field goal by Catanzaro, and Clemson led 3-0 at the 10:44 mark of the first quarter.

The score remained that way until nearly midway through the second quarter. The Tigers used a 39-yard pass to Jaron Brown to drive down to the Wake 13-yard line, but once again the offense bogged down in the red-zone and the Tigers settled for a 22-yard Catanzaro field goal and a 6-0 lead.

The Tigers forced a Demon Deacon punt with just over a minute remaining before halftime, and took just four plays to score their first touchdown of the day. Brown ran a streak down the right sideline, jostled with cornerback Josh Bush, and then went up over Bush to come down with the jump ball in the end zone for a 13-0 Clemson lead at the break.

Wake’s first possession of the second half ended when they turned it over on downs, and the Tigers responded by driving down and scoring their second touchdown of the day. The drive lasted 11 plays and took just over five minutes off of the clock, ending when Parker hit Nuke Hopkins in the end zone from two yards out for a 20-0 Tiger lead.

Harper had 59 total yards on the drive – 42 on the ground and 17 yards receiving. His receiving yards came on one pass play, a third down conversion that kept the drive alive and placed the ball just inside the 10-yard line.

Tajh Boyd’s first drive of the day ended with a 32-yard field goal from Catanzaro, his third of the day, and Clemson led 23-0 with 13:52 remaining in the contest.

Wake added a 45-yard field midway through the fourth quarter, but Harper cemented his solid day when broke through the right side for a 63-yard touchdown run, making it 30-3 Tigers with eight minutes remaining. Wake added a late touchdown to account for the final points.

Catanzaro’s perfect effort – he was 3-for-3 – gained the appreciation of his head coach.

“Probably the guy I’m most proud of is Catanzaro,” Swinney said. “I think he’s got four in a row now. It’s amazing what a difference a week makes. I’m proud of him because he’s had a lot of pressure on him and he stepped up today and performed very well.”

The Clemson defense held Wake Forest to just 205 total yards – many of which came against the reserves in the fourth quarter – and it was the sixth straight game that the defense has allowed one touchdown or fewer. Bowers added two more sacks to give him 15.5 for the season. He needs just one sack against South Carolina to break Keith Adams’ season record of 16 set in 1999.

“Da’Quan had a couple of sacks, and he’s a half-sack away now from the all-time record,” Swinney said. “That’s six weeks in a row the defense has given up one touchdown or less, and I think the record is seven, so it’s a great job by them. The biggest thing is that we’ve been coming here for a long time, and that’s the largest margin of victory for Clemson at Wake Forest since 1978.”

Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said the Clemson defense is as good as anybody’s in the conference.

“I thought our guys came out fired up to play the second half, but give Clemson credit,” Grobe said. “There are some really good defenses in this league, but I don’t know that there’s any defense better than the one we just played. They’re just a very well-coached defensive football team. They did a good job of mixing their coverages on us and their front pressured us pretty well. At times, I thought it was going uphill against a very talented football team.”

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Clemson.............  3 10  7 10  - 30       Record: (6-5,4-4)
Wake Forest.........  0  0  0 10  - 10       Record: (2-9,1-7)

Scoring Summary:
1st 10:44 CU - Catazaro, C. 43 yd field goal, 9-39 4:16, CU 3 - WF 0
2nd 08:06 CU - Catazaro, C. 22 yd field goal, 9-63 4:17, CU 6 - WF 0
    00:46 CU - Brown, J. 40 yd pass from Parker, K. (Catazaro, C. kick), 4-56 0:39, CU 13 - WF 0
3rd 04:35 CU - Hopkins, D. 2 yd pass from Parker, K. (Catazaro, C. kick), 11-64 5:42, CU 20 - WF 0
4th 13:52 CU - Catazaro, C. 32 yd field goal, 8-31 3:23, CU 23 - WF 0
    08:38 WF - Newman, J 45 yd field goal, 8-34 1:51, CU 23 - WF 3
    08:19 CU - Harper, J. 63 yd run (Catazaro, C. kick), 1-63 0:13, CU 30 - WF 3
    06:02 WF - Harris, J 1 yd run (Newman, J kick), 11-79 2:09, CU 30 - WF 10

                                     CU       WF
FIRST DOWNS...................       20       12
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   43-182    29-54
PASSING YDS (NET).............      231      151
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  25-19-1  32-17-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   68-413   61-205
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............      1-2      0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........     3-73    6-132
Interception Returns-Yards....      0-0     1-17
Punts (Number-Avg)............   2-45.5   7-30.0
Fumbles-Lost..................      3-1      0-0
Penalties-Yards...............     4-35     5-50
Possession Time...............    33:01    26:59
Third-Down Conversions........  9 of 16  7 of 17
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   1 of 1   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-3      1-1
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     3-29     3-23

RUSHING: Clemson-Harper, J. 24-142; McDowell, R. 8-26; Boyd, T. 3-13;
Barnes, D. 3-12; Brown, J. 1-4; Parker, K. 4-minus 15. Wake Forest-Harris, J
9-38; Adams, J 7-8; Campanaro, M 2-5; Givens, C 1-2; Bohanon, T 1-1; Price, T

PASSING: Clemson-Parker, K. 15-17-0-194; Boyd, T. 4-8-1-37. Wake
Forest-Price, T 17-30-0-151; Williams, M 0-1-0-0; Givens, C 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: Clemson-Brown, J. 5-93; Hopkins, D. 5-36; Harper, J. 3-39;
Jones, M. 3-32; Dye, X. 1-18; Clear, B. 1-7; Allen, D. 1-6. Wake
Forest-Williams, M 4-48; Givens, C 3-21; Parker, A 3-17; Brown, D 3-7; Ford, C
2-36; Adams, J 1-13; Harris, J 1-9.

INTERCEPTIONS: Clemson-None. Wake Forest-Mack, D 1-17.

FUMBLES: Clemson-Boyd, T. 1-0; McDowell, R. 1-0; Gilchrist, M. 1-1. Wake

Stadium: BB&T Field            Attendance: 31783
Kickoff time: 2:04 pm   End of Game: 4:46      Total elapsed time: 2:42
Officials: Referee: Tom Zimorski; Umpire: Tom Laverty; Linesman: John Busch;
Line judge: Jack Weiland; Back judge: Pat Ryan; Field judge: Kip Johnson;
Side judge: Jim Corpora; Scorer: Gary Petit;
Temperature: 63        Wind: W - 5mph  Weather: Sunny

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