Chasing 10 wins

Clemson's 31-28 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday did a lot for the Tigers.

They improved to 9-1 for the first time since 1987 and clinched their second Atlantic Division title and ACC Championship game berth in three years.

But players and coaches were eager for more.

"We're happy we're 9-1, we're thrilled we've clinched the division, but there's a lot still out there," coach Dabo Swinney said.

Namely, claiming a 10th victory -- something Clemson hasn't accomplished since 1990, and a seventh ACC win, which hasn't been done by the Tigers since 1983.

It is both remarkable and frustrating that Clemson is 9-1 without having played up to its potential -- "we're fighting for our lives every week," Swinney said.

Indeed, against Wake Forest the Tigers had to rally from a 28-14 deficit in the final quarter despite producing 522 yards of offense, allowing no sacks and going 9 for 16 on third downs.

"You look at the big picture and you don't want to be negative," Swinney said. "But you can't help but sit there and say, 'Wow, how good could we be if we fix some of these things we can control?'

"We're a solid team, but now we're trying to have a great year."

By closing out the regular season with wins at N.C. State and South Carolina, it could turn out to be just that.

MONDAY NOTES: Clemson has won three straight and 10 of its last 13 games against Wake Forest. The Tigers have more victories (59) against the Demon Deacons than any other team except South Carolina.

* Clemson has had 500 yards or more of total offense four times this season. The Tigers are 57-0-1 all-time when gaining at least 500 yards.

* Clemson finished with a perfect 7-0 record at home this season. It is the first time since 1990, when the Tigers were 6-0 at Death Valley, that the Tigers have achieved a perfect record at home.

* When Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired to beat Wake Forest, it marked the first time since 2007 that the Tigers had won on a last-second field goal.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Jaron Brown -- When Sammy Watkins was injured against Wake Forest and had to leave the game, Brown stepped up. He caught the game-tying touchdown pass on an 18-yard grab with 5:27 left in the game and finished with a career-high six catches for 78 yards. Brown, a junior, often is a forgotten receiver, overshadowed by Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and Dwayne Allen, but he has quietly put together his best season and made numerous clutch catches this year. He was named the team's Offensive Player of the Game against the Demon Deacons.

LOOKING GOOD: After its two worst performances of the season, Clemson's running game got just the boost it needed against Wake Forest with the return of junior Andre Ellington. Ellington, who had been bothered by a sprained ankle -- missing the final quarter of the North Carolina game and all of the Georgia Tech game -- returned to the starting lineup and responded with 98 yards and two touchdowns. He also made three catches for another 42 yards, which was pleasing to Clemson's coaches because Ellington had dropped quite a few passes earlier in the season.

STILL NEEDS WORK: After ranking among the nation's leaders in ball security for much of the season, the Tigers have turned the ball over seven times in their last two games, matching their turnover total through their first seven games combined.

"Maybe we were trying too hard or everybody was excited," coach Dabo Swinney said. "But ball security is our No. 1 priority, and I've been really disappointed in the last two ballgames in that regard. We were very fortunate to beat Wake Forest." Clemson had two interceptions and a fumble against Wake.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're not done. We haven't reached our high point yet. It's going to take a little more time, but in the end it's going to unfold and it's going to be a beautiful picture." -- Senior DT Rennie Moore on Clemson's late-season prospects.

ROSTER REPORT: WR Sammy Watkins, who sustained a strained AC joint in his shoulder against Wake Forest and missed the final 20 minutes of the game, is probable for the Tigers' next game at N.C. State on Nov. 19 but will be limited in practice this week.

* OT Phillip Price, who sustained a strained MCL against Wake Forest, will not play at N.C. State, but may be able to play in the regular-season finale at South Carolina on Nov. 26.

* LB Tony Steward, who sustained a torn ACL in practice on Oct. 18, is out for the season. * K Spencer Benton, who sustained a shoulder injury on Oct. 1 at Virginia Tech and missed the next four games, returned to the lineup against Wake Forest and recorded the 20th tackle of his career, which is a Clemson record for a kicker. Top Stories