Wake Forest: Out - DE Kyle Wilber (fibula).
Clemson: Out - LB Scotty Cooper (concussion).
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Making their points
With two touchdowns in 13 quarters, Clemson's offense is under siege from the shortfall in playmakers to the calls to who's calling them. Getting more than a field goal attempt after moving inside the opponent's 30-yard-line has been the stumbling block.
Fireworks in the fourth
The Tigers have lost nine of their past 11 games decided by a touchdown or less - and have not scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter in their past eight games. Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons are 13-8 in games decided by a touchdown or less since 2006.
Veteran Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner has presided over a program-record 30 wins and counting, and he is riding arguably the best four-game stretch of his career. The Tigers largely neutralized Skinner the three previous times it has faced him. Can they do it a fourth time?
Cranking up Kyle
Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker is from Jacksonville, Fla., like Skinner. Unlike the veteran Skinner, Parker has only five career starts. Parker's performance has dipped the past two games in terms of decision-making and executing the design of the play. More is needed from him to offset defenses geared to slowing C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford.
Checking the pulse
The natives are already restless, so there does not figure to be a lot of patience from the Memorial Stadium crowd. If things look gloomy for the Tigers, it will be interesting to see how the fans respond. Beyond that, a loss would put Clemson at 2-4 headed into No. 9 Miami - hardly the results expected from the new coaching regime.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH MICHAEL PALMER
You've been through a lot of turbulent times here. How does this compare?
Yeah, I'd say so (laughs). It's definitely things we can control that we're messing up. You know, you turn on the film and you see the mistakes. We're making them in practice, which is what's more frustrating about it. I don't think anyone's panicking right now. We're 2-3, but we've lost three games by a total of 10 points. But we win Saturday, we're back in the driver's seat for our division.
Have we seen an offensive identity yet?
We're probably still searching for it. Everything's there for us to be a great offense. The play calls are there, we've got the talent, we just have to start executing.
How much have the problems at receiver handcuffed the offense?
I don't think we're going to go away from them. We just have to get some guys to grow up a little bit and make some plays for us.
Do you get the sense everyone is on the same page offensively?
Absolutely. There's no question we've struggled as an offense. But everyone sees how good we can be. I don't think we're trying to reinvent the wheel.
There's been talk of more two-tight end sets. Can you be more effective running the ball out of tighter formations?
Definitely. There's different ways to run the ball, depending on who you're playing and what strategy you want to use. We've got some talented tight ends who can catch the ball and also block. Like I've said, I think it would be smart to use us, and I think we'll see more of it.
GAME WITHIN A GAME
Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner vs. Clemson DE Ricky Sapp
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior from Jacksonville, Fla., is this year's player everyone jokes has been around for a decade. The four-year starter set Wake Forest's career yardage record last week and can move into the top five in ACC history with 15 completions today. The past four games, Skinner has averaged 340 yards passing per game with 12 touchdowns to four interceptions.
How he'll win:
Skinner is as crafty as they come, and quarterbacks with mobility have made Clemson pay this season. The Deacons love to roll Skinner out on bootlegs and use a ton of misdirection stuff to temper opposing pass-rushes. Skinner, who has gained 73 yards rushing, tallied that many in 11 carries against the Tigers a year ago.
Key number: 7
Number of passes of 35-plus yards Skinner has already thrown this season, compared to nine last year.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior has had a productive season, even if he has not racked up the sacks (two) expected. Now 10 months removed from reconstructive ACL surgery, the Bamberg native leads the team in quarterback pressures (five) while improving his run support. He averages 5.0 tackles per game.
How he'll win:
Sapp is at his best when he comes off the edge, so it will be up to him to stunt the roll-outs and keep Skinner in the pocket instead of scrambling. Sapp will be given more opportunities to make a play if Skinner keeps on the read-options the Demon Deacons showcased in their last meeting.
Key number: 7
Sapp's team-high number of tackles for loss, which ranks seventh in the ACC