Wake's Clawson says Clemson "does everything well"


by - Senior Writer -
Clemson defeated Wake Forest 63-3 last season.
Clemson defeated Wake Forest 63-3 last season.

Wake Forest is looking at Saturday’s game against No. 3 Clemson as an opportunity.

The Demon Deacons lost last week at Virginia Tech, and with that loss went any chance Wake had at a division title. Instead, they head to Death Valley hoping to spoil Clemson’s long winning streak, unbeaten season and College Football Playoff hopes.

Kickoff is at 3:30 pm on Saturday (ABC).

“We have to bounce back and certainly the opponent this week presents every kind of challenge you could ask for,” Wake head coach Dave Clawson said. "It is amazing what Dabo (Swinney) and his staff have done down there. The consecutive 10-win seasons, the fifth consecutive Atlantic Division title, they have 25 straight wins now. He and his staff have done a great job. It is a combination of great talent and being an extremely well-coached team. They do everything well.”

Clawson said it’s almost impossible to stop the Clemson offense.

“They are the No. 1 offense in the ACC. They are averaging over 45 points and 550 yards per game. A lot of times you would say it starts with the quarterback, but you could say it is any one of their players it starts with,” Clawson said. “Obviously (Trevor) Lawrence is an extremely gifted quarterback. If he was immobile, he would still be great with his ability to stretch the field and make every throw, but he can also run the ball. It presents some numbers problems. If you load more in the box, then you are going against Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers. This might be the best collection of wide receivers that ever faced. Travis Etienne, there are some great tailbacks in the league in Cam Akers and A.J. Dillon, but he is right up there. They are all great players.

“The difference with Clemson and I said this a year ago, is how good their offensive line is. This offensive line that we are about to face on Saturday and the Notre Dame offensive line in '17 are probably the two best offensive lines we have ever played against. You have this really good offensive line, with an extremely gifted quarterback, a big-time tailback and three receivers and a tight end that are versatile. I think collectively, this is the best offense we have ever faced. We have a challenge on our hands.”

Clemson ranks fourth nationally in total defense.

"Defensively, with Clemson every year you look at who they are going to graduate and you have a little bit of hope, and then you watch the film,” Clawson said. “They are No. 1 in the ACC in defense. They are giving up 11.5 points per game. I think Carolina had 290 yards against them, which is the most any opponent has had. Only one team has scored in the 20s, and that was Carolina with 20. Across the board, these are all high-end players. They have done a great job.”

Wake Forest lost 63-3 to the Tigers a year ago in Winston-Salem.

“We are going to go down to a great environment. Our players are up for the challenge and we know what's in front of us,” Clawson said. “We are excited about it. We get this opportunity once a year against Clemson. Certainly, we did not play well a year ago. I think that game, as much as anything, flipped our season. After that game, we had to do some real soul searching as a team and as a staff. I was proud, since then, of how our team has responded. Here we go and we get another shot at them. We are going to have to play well, but that is what makes it fun. We embrace the challenge and know how tough it is going to be."

Punter Dom Maggio said he can’t wait to play in front of the Clemson faithful.

“I do like getting on the road and playing in some big environments and this is among the best big-time environments in all of college football at Clemson,” Maggio said. “Seeing the tradition that they have and get to hopefully get those guys on their home turf and in front of their fans. It's always a big opportunity that we're thankful for and we'll try our best there.

"This is our one-week season. We have Clemson and we all know how good they are and we're going to play our game. If we play Wake Forest Football in all three phases, offense, defense, and special teams, and if we play to the best of our ability, we can beat anybody in the country so that's our mindset and we're going to take it to them on Saturday."

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