A Lot of the Line in Death Valley Saturday
When Clemson and Wake Forest meet
in Death Valley on Saturday there will be a lot
on the line. A check to the ACC standings with
just two conference games left for these two
clubs tells us that both teams are 4-2 in the ACC
and both still have a chance to win the Atlantic
Division and play for the ACC Championship in
Jacksonville on December 1. Both teams end
the year with a non-conference game. Wake
Forest plays at Vanderbilt and Clemson plays at
Boston College has the upper hand
in the Atlantic with a 4-1 record, but the Eagles
still have to play Maryland on November 10, at
Clemson next week and will face Miami (FL) on
November 24. Boston College has lost 15 in a
row to the Hurricanes with its last win coming in
1984 when Doug Flutie's miracle play gave them
a 47-45 win on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Clemson controls its own destiny coming
into Saturday's game. Win this week and
next and Clemson will be in Jacksonville on December
1. Wake Forest would need some help
if it won its last two conference games. Boston
College won the head to head meeting against
Wake Forest earlier this year, so a tie at 6-2 does
not do the Demon Deacons any good.
Saturday's game features Clemson,
the ACC school with the most ACC Championships
over the years (13) against Wake Forest,
the most recent ACC Champion. The Demon
Deacons had an 11-3 overall record, including
6-2 in the ACC regular season before defeating
Georgia Tech in the championship game last
Clemson vs. Wake Forest Series
•Clemson owns 55 wins over Wake
Forest in history, its second highest victory total
over any opponent. Clemson has 62 wins over
South Carolina. Forty-four of those wins against
Wake Forest have taken place since the ACC
was formed in 1953.
•Clemson won last year at Wake Forest,
27-17. Gaines Adams had a game changing
66-yard fumble return on a botched field goal
attempt in the fourth quarter to cut the Demon
Deacons lead to 17-10. The Tigers scored 24
points in the fourth period to gain the victory.
•This is Wake Forest's first appearance
at Clemson since 2004. The Tigers played
at Wake Forest in 2005 and 2006. The last
meeting between the two teams at Clemson
resulted in a 37-30 Tiger victory in double overtime.
•Clemson leads the series 55-16-1
overall, including a 31-7 record in games played
at Clemson and a 27-7 mark in games played
in Death Valley. Clemson has won 21 of the
last 23 against Wake Forest in Death Valley.
Clemson did not lose at home to Wake Forest
between 1962-92. Wake Forest broke the streak
in 1993 when Jim Caldwell's first team defeated
Clemson 20-16 at Death Valley. Wake Forest
also won at Clemson in 1998.
• 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. In
2005, Wake Forest defeated Clemson 31-27.
Clemson finished last season in the top 25 as
well with an 8-4 record. So the last two wins for
Wake Forest in the series they defeated Clemson
teams that ended the season in the top 25.
•Clemson has a 44-8-1 edge in the
series since 1953. Clemson has played Wake
Forest in football 54 consecutive years, as the
last year the two schools did not play was 1952.
The two schools are in the same division, so
they will continue to play annually.
•Clemson has a 18-9-1 lead in the
series in games played at Wake Forest, including
11-5-1 in games played at Groves Stadium.
•Only one coach in history won as
many as four games against Clemson without
a loss in Death Valley and the coach was from
Wake Forest. Frank Howard and Peahead
Walker had a close friendship, but Peahead had
a 4-0 record against Howard in Death Valley.
•Clemson has won 10 out of 13
against Wake Forest dating to 1994. The Demon
Deacons won back-to-back games in 1992-93,
the only time Wake Forest has won consecutive
contests against Clemson since 1946-47.
•Clemson has a 6-2 record against
Wake Forest under Tommy Bowden, but five of
the six Clemson wins have been decided by 10
points or less. The Tigers won 12-3 in 1999, 21-
14 in 2001, 31-23 in 2002 and 37-30 in double
overtime in 2004. The Tigers won 27-17 last
year, but trailed 17-3 entering the fourth period.
Clemson's only blowout against Wake Forest
took place in 2000 when Clemson won by a 55-9
•The two teams have played at three
neutral sites in history, including Tokyo, Japan.
Clemson won that game in 1982 by a 21-17
score to close out an ACC Championship season.
•Clemson defeated a Wake Forest
team coached by current Virginia coach Al Groh
on Halloween Day 1981 by an 82-24 score. That
is the highest scoring game in ACC history involving
two league teams. Clemson was 12-12
on third down in that game, a school record. The
Tigers went on to win the national championship.
2006 at Wake Forest
Clemson 27, Wake Forest 17
With No. 15 Clemson trailing 17-3 entering
the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored the final 24
points to defeat unbeaten Wake Forest 27-17 at
Groves Stadium on October 7. It was the third time
in school history that the Tigers overcame a 14-
point deficit in the fourth quarter to gain victory.
The turning point came on the first play
of the fourth quarter. Wake Forest lined up for a
field goal that would have given it a 17-point lead.
But Jon Temple was unable to cleanly receive the
snap. He got up and tried to make a play, but
Gaines Adams caused a fumble, grabbed the ball
out of midair with one hand, and raced 66 yards
for a score.
Clemson scored two more touchdowns
and a field goal thanks in part to two more turnovers
caused by its defense.
The Tigers started four drives inside their
own five, including twice on the one. But, Clemson
had a pair of 96-yard drives, the first time in Tiger
history that it had two drives of 95 yards or more
in a game.
C.J. Spiller rushed for 104 yards on nine
carries, while James Davis carried 26 times for 95
yards. Davis was kept out of the end zone, snapping
his nine-game streak of scoring at least one
Will Proctor was 20-30 for 214 yards
and three interceptions, but came through with the
game-tying score to Aaron Kelly. Kelly had five
catches for 91 yards, both game-highs. Rendrick
Taylor was lost for the rest of the regular season
with a broken arm suffered in the third quarter.
.Riley Skinner showed pinpoint accuracy, as
he was 18-23 for 169 yards to lead the Demon
Deacon passing attack.
Kevin Marion took the opening kickoff 93 yards to the Tiger seven. But C.J. Gaddis stripped
De'Angelo Bryant on first-and-goal from the two,
and Duane Coleman recovered at the one.
Clemson marched 96 yards in 14 plays
on the ensuing drive, but settled for a Jad Dean 20-
yard field goal after the drive stalled at the three.
Late in the first quarter, the Demon Deacons
drove 67 yards in nine plays to take the lead.
Skinner hit Morton down the sideline for 36 yards to
move into Tiger territory. Then on third-and-goal,
Skinner connected with Willie Idlette in the back
of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown pass.
Proctor fumbled on Clemson's next
drive to give Wake Forest the ball at the Tiger 32.
Three plays later, Morton lofted a perfectly-thrown
19-yard strike to Skinner on an end-around pass
to put Wake Forest up 14-3.
After the Tigers drove 44 yards and Dean
just missed a 53-yard field-goal attempt in the third
quarter, Proctor was picked off again, this time by
Patrick Ghee, who returned it to the Tiger 12. But
Clemson's defense stiffened, and Sam Swank
kicked a field goal to put Wake Forest up 17-3.
Proctor's third interception on Clemson's
next drive gave the Demon Deacons possession
again in Tiger territory. Five plays netted 15 yards
to the Tiger 24. That is when Adams came through
with the play-of-the-game on the botched field-goal
attempt. Adams' 66-yard fumble return on the first
play of the fourth quarter was his only touchdown
as a Tiger.
Brandon Cannon stripped Skinner on
Wake Forest's ensuing drive, and Donnell Clark
recovered at the Demon Deacon 43. Five plays
later, Proctor zipped a 20-yard touchdown pass to
Kelly to tie the score.
Clemson's defense forced a three-and-
out, but Swank pinned the Tigers inside their own
five again. After Thomas Hunter's 10-yard catch
on third down, Spiller sprinted 72 yards for the go-
ahead touchdown with 7:22 left. It was the longest
run by a Tiger running back since 1993.
Wake Forest drove into Tiger territory
on the ensuing drive, but was called for a penalty.
Gaddis later intercepted Skinner's pass and returned
the ball near midfield.
The Tigers drove inside the 10 before
settling for Dean's field goal that gave Clemson a
10-point lead with 1:12 left.
Tigers Set Special Teams Record
Clemson has been much improved since the Virginia Tech game
at midseason when the Hokies scored on a kickoff return and punt return
in the same game. Clemson's coverage has been much improved in both
areas. Maryland's average start after a Clemson kickoff was its own 22
yardline, while Duke's average start was its own 24. For the season,
Clemson has held the opposition inside its own 21 yard line after a kickoff
23 times in 60 kickoffs, 38 percent. Clemson opponents have held the
Tigers inside the 21 a total of 11 times in 37 kickoffs, 29.7 percent.
In the Duke game, Clemson established a school standard for
average kickoff return with a 55.3 yard average on three returns. The
previous record (minimum of three returns) was a 43.3 average on three
returns against NC State in 2002.
For the season, Clemson is now third in the ACC in kickoff return
average. C.J. Spiller, who had an 84-yard kickoff return for a score at
Duke, is now 25th in the nation with a 27.6 average per return.
Clemson will be challenged against Wake Forest on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons have the ACC leader in kickoff return average in
Kevin Morton, who averages 33.5 yards per return on 19 attempts. As
a team, Wake Forest is 15th in the nation in kickoff return average at 24.6
yards per return.
20 Millionth Fan to Attend Game at Death Valley Saturday
Fans attending Saturday's game will be a part of a milestone at
Clemson Memorial Stadium. At some time prior to Saturday's game, the
20 millionth fan will go through the gates to attend a football game at this
facility that was first opened in 1942.
Entering this season, 19,530,082 fans had attended games at
Clemson Memorial Stadium. So far in 2007, a total of 402,215 fans have
come to the five home games, an average of 80,443. With Saturday's
game against Wake Forest a pregame sellout, the first ever for a Clemson
vs. Wake Forest game, that means 82,000 will be in attendance. We
needed only 67,703 fans to break the 20,000,000 mark, so it will happen
With a sellout Saturday and the expected sellout for the Boston
College game, Clemson should average over 80,800 fans this year. That
would be the third highest season attendance in Clemson history.
Clemson has finished in the top 20 in the nation in average
home football attendance for 26 straight years. Last year Clemson was
14th in the nation with an average of 81,506.
Top Two Receivers on Display Saturday
Historically, Clemson and Wake Forest have a reputation of
offenses that like to move the ball on the ground. But, entering Saturday's
game, the two teams have the top two receivers in the ACC.
Clemson's Aaron Kelly leads the conference in reception yards
per game at 83.1, and is second in receptions per game at 6.33. Kelly has
57 receptions for 748 yards and nine touchdowns. Wake Forest's Kenneth
Moore leads the ACC in receptions per game with 7.22 and is second to
Kelly in reception yards with 79.4. Moore has 65 receptions for 715 yards
and five scores. Kelly is 29th in the nation in receptions and reception
yards and Moore is 11th in receptions and 36th in reception yards.
We will also see two of the top three rushers in the conference
when Clemson plays Wake Forest so it is apparent that these are two of
the more balanced teams in the ACC. Clemson's James Davis is second
in the league with 798 yards and eight rushing scores, while Wake Forest's
Josh Adams is third with 651 yards and six scores.
Thunder and Lightning Back in Form
Clemson has had quite an offensive resurgence over the last
three games, scoring 147 points in three victories, 49 points per game.
One of the areas that has been outstanding has been the ground game.
And if the ground game is successful, that means "Thunder and Lightning"
have been piling up the yardage.
Clemson has had 742 yards rushing over the last three games,
an average of 247 yards per game. In those three games, James Davis
has picked up 335 yards in 59 attempts, a 5.7 average, and C.J. Spiller
has picked up 258 yards in 40 attempts, an average of 6.5 yards per attempt.
In Spiller's case, he has also contributed an 84-yard touchdown on
a kickoff return.
For the season, Davis now has 798 yards rushing on 135 attempts,
a 5.9 average. He has added eight touchdowns. Spiller has 102-
462 rushing for the season and he leads the team in all-purpose running
with 1097 yards, 122 yards per game.
Spiller established a Clemson career record in the win over
Duke. His 84-yard kickoff return for a score was his eighth touchdown of
50 yards or more at Clemson. That broke a record for long scores he held
with Derrick Hamilton, who had seven touchdowns plays of 50 yards or
more between 2001-03.
Wake Forest - Clemson Game Notes
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