When Matt Ryan's improvisational skills are invoked, Clemson folks should heed the warning.
That was the comparison Tigers coach Dabo Swinney attached to Wake Forest senior quarterback Riley Skinner, a fourth-year starter who set the school's career yardage record last week and is within range of moving into the ACC's top five for career completions in Saturday's showdown in Death Valley.
Skinner's lack of NFL tools or gaudy stats have tempered his notoriety, but he's made a strong case for first-team All-ACC this season, averaging 341 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in the past four games. He has completed 70.7 percent of his passes in that span.
"The biggest thing he does such a good job of is scrambling around and finding a guy throwing the ball," Swinney said. "That's what makes him dangerous, and that's what he likes to do at this point in his career.
"Kind of like we used to see some with Matt Ryan in this conference. That's what Riley has really mastered. He just knows where everybody is."
In Skinner's last two games against Clemson, nearly two-thirds of his completions (28 of 43, 65 percent) have gone to backs and tight ends, not receivers.
Skinner appears to rely more on his receivers this season, as they have accounted for 69 percent of Wake Forest's catches this season. Starters Marshall Williams and Chris Givens have tallied five touchdowns apiece, at least one apiece in each of their past four games.
"You better make (Skinner) throw out of a well, because if you don't and he can move around on flat ground, he'll keep the play alive a long time," defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said.
Who's in, who's out. Redshirt freshman Dalton Freeman will start at center, Swinney announced, replacing redshirt sophomore Mason Cloy, who is slated to play both guard and center.
Also, junior linebacker Scotty Cooper will miss the game because of recurring symptoms from a concussion suffered in the Maryland game.
Swinney said he plans to expand the receiver rotation as well, expanding to include redshirt freshman Brandon Ford.
Treat, no trick. Clemson's preference for day games has resulted in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff for the Oct. 31 home game against Coastal Carolina, the school announced. The game will be shown on ESPN360.com.
Extra points. Wake Forest has used three first-year freshmen this season, matching the most in Grobe's nine seasons. ... Fresh off becoming the ACC's career all-purpose yardage leader, running back C.J. Spiller needs 59 yards to become the 27th player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to eclipse 6,000. He might find it hard to come by on punt returns; the Demon Deacons have allowed 13 yards on five returns. ... Offensive coordinator Billy Napier said he wants fullback Chad Diehl's role to increase.