Wake Forest - Clemson Game Notes

Clemson owns 55 wins over Wake Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent.

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 South Carolina.

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 year.

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 score.

•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 rushing touchdown.

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 on Saturday.

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.

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