Wake Forest Whips the Tigers, 45-17

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Chad Jasmin fumbles in Clemson's 45-17 loss to Wake Forest.

WINSTON-SALEM - Clemson’s been in this position before under Tommy Bowden, trying to recover from a blowout loss.
You get the feeling, though, that this time it’s going to be different that the others.

Clemson’s 45-17 loss to Wake Forest at Groves Stadium on Saturday will likely officially start talk about Bowden’s job security.
The Tigers fell to 5-4 and 3-3 in the ACC after a game in which they trailed 35-0 at the end of a miserable first half. Wake’s offense scored three times and the defense scored twice, effectively ending the game 30 minutes early.

“Five possessions in the first half. Three turnovers,” said Clemson center Tommy Sharpe. “We shot ourselves in the foot every chance we got. They deserved every point they go. We didn’t show up to play and we deserved the whipping we got.”

Clemson never threatened to make it a football game, and Bowden was left kicking a field goal in the fourth quarter to keep his team being shut out for the second time this season.

“I thought the kids worked too hard,” said Bowden. “I didn’t want them to work a whole bunch and come up with nothing. I didn’t want them to work hard and not get any points. I did want to get something on the board.”

Aaron Hunt hit a 21-yard fieldgoal with 13:11 left in the game after an apparent touchdown pass from Charlie Whitehurst to Kevin Youngblood was ruled out of bounds.

Clemson did score two touchdowns after the fieldgoal on passes from Chansi Stuckey to Derrick Hamilton and Kelvin Grant.

Clemson outgained Wake Forest 405 yards to 400 yards, but most came when the game had long been decided.

“It just seemed like our kids were out of position for whatever reason,” said Clemson defensive coordinator John Lovett.

Wake Forest drove the ball for touchdowns on their first two possessions, leaving Clemson just one possession in the first quarter. On that possession Clemson turned the ball over when Whitehurst’s pass to Hamilton on fourth-and-five at the Wake 33-yard line was incomplete.

Wake’s 14-0 lead after the first quarter didn’t seem insurmountable, though. It wasn’t until Whitehurst threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown that things spiraled out of control. Eric King intercepted a pass from Whitehurst that was tipped by Kelvin Grant 85 yards with 10:51 left in the first half.

Wake then drove 98 yards for a 1-yard run by Cory Randolph to go ahead 28-0 with 1:17 left in the half.
Clemson was attempting to salvage some points at the end of the half when Whitehurst was stripped of the ball by Jyles Tucker, who returned the ball 12 yards for a touchdown. That score put Wake up 35-0 and effective put the game out of reach.

“The game is over at halftime, I guess you can say, but there wasn’t a point in time when we gave up,” said Whitehurst.

For his part, Bowden said he is taking the loss in stride. “It is demoralizing, but it happens in college football so you try not to let your team get too down,” he said. “It’s obvious that we had played pretty good for eight straight games. I thought we would again. It’s my job to get them prepared every single week and I didn’t this week.”

Now, Bowden must also prepare for his father and Florida State. He also has to prepare for the questions that plague any Clemson coach who loses to Wake Forest.

When asked about his job security after Saturday’s loss, he said, “That’s for the athletic director and the president. I’ve got other problems, like Florida State.”

Clemson     0   0   0  17  -17
Wake Forest 7  28  10   0  -45

First Quarter

WFU-Barclay 5 run (Wisnosky kick), 8:42

Second Quarter

WFU-Barclay 2 run (Wisnosky kick), 14:57

WFU- King 85 interception return (Wisnosky kick), 10:51

WFU-Randolph 1 run (Wisnosky kick), 1:17

WFU-Tucker 12 fumble recovery return (Wisnosky kick), 1:08

Third Quarter

WFU-FG 37 Wisnosky, 8:04

WFU-Birgs 1 run (Wisnosky kick), 2:03

Fourth Quarter

CU-FG 21 Hunt, 13:11

CU-Hamilton 11 pass from Stuckey (Hunt kick), 9:26

CU-Grant 5 pass from Stuckey (Hunt kick), 1:11

A - 35,643.

                       CU      WFU
First downs            29       22
Rushes-yards        24-62    60-321
Passing               343       79
Comp-Att-Int        35-57-1  5-7-0
Return Yards           87      111
Punts-Avg.           3-41.3   2-47.5
Fumbles-Lost          3-2      1-1
Penalties-Yards      5-39     8-72
Time of Possession  26:26    33:34


RUSHING - Clemson, Stuckey 4-35, Coleman 7-27, Jasmin 6-17, Merriweather 1-6,
Hamilton 2-4, Whitehurst 4-(-minus 27). Wake Forest, Barclay 24-163, Randolph
9-67, Idlette 5-42, Birgs 8-29, Bryant 5-8, Burney 5-6, Davis 1-4, Taylor 1-3,
Richter 1-2, Team 1-(minus 2).

PASSING - Clemson, Whitehurst 26-42-1 272, Stuckey 9-15-0 71. Wake Forest
Randolph 5-7-0 79.

RECEIVING - Clemson, Youngblood 7-101, Baham 6-50, Hamilton 6-42, Grant 5-36,
Elliott 3-46, Coleman 3-11, Currie 2-21, Collins 2-20, Jackson 1-16. Wake
Forest, Idlette 2-24, Morton 1-29, Young 1-13, Davis 1-13.

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