GAME: No. 15 Clemson (4-1, 2-1) at Wake Forest (5-0, 1-0) 12:00 PM
LOCATION: Winston-Salem, N.C., Groves Stadium (31,500)
SPREAD: Clemson by 16.5
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 56-34 (74-38 overall) in his eighth season with the Tigers. Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe is 31-32 (64-65-1 overall) in his sixth season with the Deacons.
SERIES: Clemson owns 54 wins over Wake
Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent. Clemson has 62 wins over South Carolina. Forty-three of those wins against Wake Forest have taken place since the ACC was formed in 1953. However Wake Forest has won two of the last three meetings with both contests taking place in Winston-Salem. The Deacs won 45-17 in 2003 against a Clemson team that finished the year 9-4 and ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Last year, Wake Forest defeated Clemson 31-27.
WAKE FOREST KEY PLAYER: QB Riley Skinner. Skinner has stepped in nicely for the injured Ben Mauk, completing 47-of-72 passes (65%) for 619 yards and two touchdowns. The Deacs will need him to provide his best imitation of Tiger killer Cory Randolph to have a chance Saturday.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: LB Antonio Clay. The spotlight will once again be on Clemson's linebackers as they cannot be fooled by Wake Forest's misdirection offense. Clay is talented, but must remain with his assignments against the Deacs' pesky running game.
INJURIES: Clemson- LB Tramaine Billie (ankle) out, LB Anthony Waters (ACL) out, WR Chansi Stuckey (foot) out, RB Reggie Merriweather (ankle) questionable, DT Etta Etta-Tawo (heart) out. Wake Forest- QB Ben Mauk (arm/shoulder) out, RB Micah Andrews (ACL) out, LT Arby Jones (knee) out.
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: Wake Forest will be looking to defeat Clemson in back to back seasons for the first time since 1993-94. If Wake Forest defeats Clemson Saturday it would give Jim Grobe's
team three wins in four years against the
Tigers. No Clemson senior class has lost three
of four to Wake Forest since the senior of
WAKE FOREST QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're very excited to show what we're made of this weekend. To have the team we have now and people respecting us, it's not just about this weekend. We really want to show America that we are a team. It's time to see what Wake Forest is really made of." — Wake Forest OG Louis Frazier on the importance of Saturday's home game against Clemson.
CLEMSON QUOTE TO NOTE: "Wake Forest has had something to do with that. They've beaten us two out of three and now they are undefeated. They are well coached. Jim Grobe probably does more in the country with the players that he has and given them the best chance to be successful. He's proven that. At least with us anyways. Wake Forest will surely have our attention this week." - Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden on the success Wake Forest has established against Clemson in recent years.
FORECAST: Rain early... then remaining cloudy with showers in the afternoon. High 59F. Winds out of the north at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch. (weather.com)
* Depth Charts
* Quick Hits with Maurice Nelson
* Grobe: "We've Got to Play Above Our Heads"
* Etta-Tawo Undergoes Heart Tests
* Clemson - Wake Game Notes
* Wednesday Practice Notes
* What We are Hearing...
* Expect More Jacoby Ford
* Stuckey Breaks Foot
* Dirty Deacs?
* Bowden Press Conference Notes
* Bowden: Execution is Key Against Deacs
* Hamlin to Test Foot This Week
* CFN: Week 6 ACC Predictions
* Teleconference Notes: Deacs Looming
WHAT TO WATCH: When Clemson has the Ball,- The Tigers will be without the services of All-ACC wide receiver Chansi Stuckey so somebody has to step up in his place. Freshman Jacoby Ford will likely get the start but Rendrick Taylor, Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham must be depended on more heavily than in previous weeks. Clemson has been dominant on the ground against inferior competition in North Carolina and Louisiana Tech. Wake Forest should provide a stiffer test considering the Deacs are 24th in the nation in total defense (273/game), 9th in scoring defense (10.6/game) and 16th in rushing defense (78/game). While QB Will Proctor hasn't had to the put the ball in the air much the last two weeks, he currently leads the ACC in Passing Efficiency and should be depended on more heavily Saturday. Surprisingly, Wake's 17 sacks currently lead the conference.
When Wake Forest has the Ball- No surprise here. The Deacons still use the same ball control, misdirection running game that has given Clemson fits in each of the last five years. While injuries have decimated the Deacs on paper, the team hasn't missed a beat despite losing its starting quarterback (Mauk), running back (Andrews) and left tackle (Jones). Defensively, the Tigers must play assignment football. Linebackers cannot get caught up with what the quarterback is doing in the backfield and focus squarely on their keys. The Deacons passed the ball just five times in a 27-3 road win over Mississippi two weeks ago. "It's going to be a matter of execution," said Bowden. "In the past we haven't made the adjustments on defense and executed well. You want to be able to slow their running game down. You won't stop it because they really know what they are doing, but hopefully we can slow them down where they won't get their average (rushing)."
Special Teams- Clemson continues to struggle on PATs and kickoff coverage. Last week, Jad Dean had another extra point blocked and Louisiana Tech established good field position each time Dean's kickoffs failed to reach the end zone. Once again both areas were focal points during practice this week. Wake Forest kicker Sam Swank handles field goals and punts for the Deacs and has been solid thus far (7-of-10 FGs, 42.5 yards/punt).
Intangibles- Groves Stadium has been nothing short of a House of Horrors for Clemson in recent years. From quirky interceptions to failed fake field goals, the Tigers have suffered through two of the most difficult games in the Tommy Bowden era during their last two trips to Winston-Salem. It will be important for Clemson to get off to a good start Saturday. That means no turnovers and establishing an early lead- neither of which happened in the previous two games at Groves Stadium.
PREDICTION: Clemson 31 Wake Forest 17
DON'T FORGET! Breakfast with the Tiger Pre-game Show! The Tiger Pre-game Show will be broadcasting live Saturday morning from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM (no that's not a misprint) from Groves Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on www.wccpfm.com.
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