Tigers must keep momentum going

For Clemson to play its way back to the Orange Bowl, the No. 19 Tigers can't afford any more slip-ups.

Coach Dabo Swinney's team always seems to avoid those against Wake Forest.

Clemson looks to extend its recent dominance of the Demon Deacons on Thursday night while staying on track for another major bowl berth.

The selection committee ranks the Tigers (6-2, 5-1, No. 21 CFP) as the Atlantic Coast Conference's second-best team. If they maintain that position and No. 2 Florida State makes the playoff, they will earn their third Orange Bowl berth in four years.

"For us, it's really about trying to continue the momentum that we've created," coach Dabo Swinney said. "We want to have a great November. And if we want to have a great November, we've got to go win on the road."

A rare loss to Wake Forest (2-6, 0-4) — a three-touchdown underdog — would certainly spoil that.

Since Swinney took over at Clemson during the 2008 season, he's won all five meetings with the Demon Deacons and four of them have come by at least 20 points. Wake Forest's last win in the series came in a nationally televised Thursday night game in '08 that hastened Tommy Bowden's midseason departure.

The Demon Deacons have struggled in Dave Clawson's first season, especially on offense. Their ground game is the worst in the Bowl Subdivision, averaging just 34.5 yards per game.

They put a scare into Boston College in their last game, with freshman quarterback John Wolford throwing for 233 yards in the second half of a 23-17 loss in which they gained 6 total yards in the first half.

"We have had moments this year that we look like a competent offense," Clawson said. "We have not had the ability to sustain it. ... It's hard to ever be a consistent offense when you don't run the football."

CUTigers.com Top Stories