It has been 13 years since Wake Forest has knocked off Clemson in a football game.
The last time it happened, Tommy Bowden was still roaming the sidelines, as Dabo Swinney has never lost to the Demon Deacons.
However, this isn’t your typical Wake Forest team. Dave Clawson’s squad is led by redshirt junior QB Sam Hartman, although, it feels like he has been there for about a decade. The Deacs are also coming off an Atlantic Division title.
Make no mistake, their offense is explosive and if given the time, Hartman will pick you apart. And therein lies the key. Will Hartman have the time?
In recent years, that long, drawn out RPO system that the Deacs offense is centered around, has played right into the hands of what the Tigers do on defense. There’s just been too much talent and speed up front, and Clemson has owned the line of scrimmage in these games.
It’s hard to imagine this season being any different, despite Wes Goodwin now calling the plays. This is the same Clemson defensive front that dominated Wake last season in Death Valley. The key is throwing off Hartman’s timing and the Tigers should be able to do that.
On the other side of the ball, Wake Forest’s run defense left a lot to be desired last weekend. Liberty ran it at will, to the tune of 177 yards, which in turn opened up the passing game.
DJ Uiagalelei, despite all the noise, is off to a pretty solid start, hitting on 65% of his passes and throwing five touchdown passes to just one interception. He’s also spreading the wealth, as nine different players have caught at least three passes. He was even a factor in the zone read game in the win over Louisiana Tech, something we didn’t see at all a season ago.
Surprisingly, the Tigers head to Winston-Salem as only a 7.5 point favorite. Sorry, but I just don’t see this one being that close. Clemson’s defense continues to own the Deacs and Will Shipley and the running game have another big day.
Clemson 34 Wake Forest 20
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