Who: Wake Forest (4-1) at Clemson (5-0)
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium (81,500), Clemson
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Series history: Clemson leads 64-17-1. The Tigers have won eight consecutive games in the series.
TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman)
Radio: 93.1 FM in Columbia (Don Munson, Rodney Williams, Sideline: Reggie Merriweather)
Satellite radio: XM 193
Line: Clemson by 21.5
Weather: Morning showers with a high of 78 and a low of 70. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
Matt Connolly prediction
Clemson believes its offense has all of the answers to combat what opposing defenses are trying to do.
If you stack the box to stop the run, the Tigers have playmakers at receiver who can beat you deep.
If you play with only five or six in the box and try to take away the big play, Clemson doesn’t mind gashing you with its running game and putting together long drives.
The problem for the Tigers occurs when a defense doesn’t have to stack the box but is still able to get pressure on Kelly Bryant and take away the running game, which is what Boston College did for much of the game two weeks ago.
BC eventually ran out of gas, and Travis Etienne took over late in Clemson’s 34-7 victory, but for three quarters, Clemson managed 269 total yards and seven points.
The defenses that have caused Clemson the most trouble this year are the ones that are strong up front, and that’s what Wake Forest is.
The Demon Deacons lead the nation in tackles for loss with 50 and had 17 last weekend against Florida State.
Defensive end Duke Ejiofor is second nationally in tackles for loss with 10.5, and three other players on the team have at least five.
“Really good up front,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “They have the type of depth that Auburn had up front, and they’ve got two- and three-deep of guys that can play.”
While I think Wake Forest will give Clemson’s offense problems, ultimately the Tigers have too many weapons and too much depth and should pull away late.
Wake Forest has made steady progress under coach Dave Clawson, but still doesn’t have the athletes that Clemson does. The Tigers’ defense should have no problem limiting Wake Forest’s offense.
Prediction: Clemson 31, Wake Forest 13