Breakout Game Needed

CLEMSON – Through the first four games, Clemson has entered the fourth quarter with an average of 13 points, which ultimately led to a very close outcome. As a result, some of the players are starting to drain mentally, but it's nothing that a blowout at Wake Forest couldn't cure.

"It's unbelievable," tight end Thomas Hunter said of the three games decided on the game's final play. "It seems like every week we're sitting there watching our game on SportsCenter, talking about double- or triple-overtime thriller.

"It'd be nice to know by halftime that we're going to win the ballgame. But we haven't had one like that. It'd be nice to go out and blow somebody out, it really would. I think that would help our confidence a lot."

The Demon Deacons seem like the perfect remedy for Clemson's ills. Wake Forest is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Deacs have lost to Maryland, scored only three points against Nebraska and lost to Vanderbilt. None of those teams are exactly football powerhouses, at least not anymore.

"We'd love to do that," Tigers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. "I think we all know that we're capable of doing that. It's just a matter of showing it to people. We do need that. We need to score a bunch of points, but they're going to make it tough for us. But it would be nice."

Even Clemson coach Tommy Bowden admits a laugher would be good for the team's psyche.

"Oh, yeah," he said. "It'd be good for mine, much less them."

However, he understands it's not as simple as that. Even though on paper it looks as though the Tigers should whip Wake Forest, it may not be that easy, as evident the last few times the two teams have met.

"It used to be when I was a young graduate assistant at Florida State, it was let's see if we can set a school record for total yards when we were playing Western Carolina or playing Tulane and let's get our first-teamers out by the end of halftime," Bowden said. "Them games are over. Louisville possibly had that mentality going to South Florida, ‘Hey, let's get this thing over with. We're eighth in the nation and let's finish this thing off and get our rest and go home,' and they lose (45-14).

"But I think when you start telling your team let's go get this thing over by half so we can play some second-team guys, (bad things are) going to happen. I'm sure Oklahoma said that about TCU. … Yes, it'd be good for your psyche, but I just don't see it. …

"We can't do it against anybody. We tried it at Duke last year and lost that game."

In order to pull off the waxing, Clemson (2-2, 1-2 ACC Atlantic) will have to approach this game as though it was once again about to face Miami or Boston College. And linebacker David Dunham is trying to get that across to the rest of his teammates.

"I just think we need to go to Wake Forest with the right mindset, not so much that Wake Forest isn't a good team, because regardless of how Wake Forest is statistically, they still give us a hard time whenever we play them," he said. "The last time we went to Wake Forest, we got blown out."

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