GAME: Wake Forest (6-3, 4-2) at No. 20 Clemson (7-2, 4-2 ACC)
LOCATION: Clemson, S.C., Memorial Stadium (81,500)
TIME: Noon EST
SPREAD: Tigers by 8.5
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.
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 67-40 (85-44 overall) in his ninth year at Clemson. Bowden owns a 6-2 record against Wake Forest. Deacs head coach Jim Grobe is 43-38 (76-71-1 overall) in his seventh season in Winston-Salem, including a 2-4 record against the Tigers.
WAKE FOREST KEY PLAYER: WR Kenneth Moore. Moore is second in the league in receiving and is also lethal in the ground game. The Tigers must account for this speedy wide out at all times, or he can gash the Clemson defense in a number of different ways.
INJURIES: Clemson- RB Ray Ray McElrathbey (ACL) out, FB Chad Diehl (leg) out, Haydrian Lewis (ACL) out, WR Jacoby Ford (ankle) out, DT Rashaad Jackson (knee) questionable, OL Bobby Hutchinson (ankle) doubtful.
FORECAST: Sunny. High of 67. Temperatures will be in the low 40s for tailgating Saturday morning. (weather.com)
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: Wake Forest has won 11 of its last 15 ACC games. The Deacons 10 conference wins since the start of the 2006 season tie for first in the ACC with Virginia Tech.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I haven't really thought about that. Somebody told me we were, but like I told that guy that told me that, that and 75 cents will get you a cup of coffee at Ma's Grocery up the road. If we're in the top 10 at the end of the season, then (that will be special). We were here last year. We were probably eighth or or something at this juncture last year, and did not finish as well as we would have liked." -- Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning on his unit being ranked 5th in the country in total defense.
* 3 Keys to Victory
* Wake Fans Expect Wins
* Chase for the Title
* 2007 Clemson Beat Pick 'Em
* Wake Forest - Clemson Depth Chart
* Tigers Not Overlooking Defending Champs
* Is There a Doctor in the House?
* Tommy Bowden's Press Conference
* Injury Updates; Tigers Practicing Well
* Tuesdays with Vic
* What We are Hearing...
* On the Record: Cullen Harper
* Pesky Deacs Can Score
* Wake Forest - Clemson Game Notes
KEYS FOR THE CLEMSON OFFENSE - Wake Forest has been opportunistic as always this season, scoring seven touchdowns on defense. QB Cullen Harper, who has only thrown four interceptions all year long, must continue to protect the football Saturday. The Deacs are just ninth in the league in total defense but some of the same players remain from last year's team that kept the Tigers out of the end zone for three quarters. The Tigers must remain patient with the running game, allowing James Davis and C.J. Spiller to get into a rhythm. However, don't be surprised if Clemson uses the passing game to setup the run later on. Keep an eye on DB Alphonso Smith- he's an emotional leader and playmaker in the Wake Forest secondary. The Clemson offensive line is also preparing for Wake's complicated schemes, which include a lot of movement on the defensive line right before, or sometimes during the snap. "It's forces you to adjust where you are running as the ball is being snapped," said Spiller. "It's an adjustment but we are ready for it this year."
KEYS FOR THE CLEMSON DEFENSE - The Deacs won't run as much option as they have in years past, but you can expect a decent dose of misdirection. That means the Clemson defense can't be fooled when a play starts in one direction because it can easily be taken back the opposite way. WR Kenneth Moore is second in the league in the receiving and third on the Deacs in rushing with three touchdowns. Running backs Josh Adams and Micah Andrews are also dangerous threats in the misdirection game. Adams has been named ACC Rookie of the Week three times this season and has the speed to score every time he touches the ball- just ask Florida State. The Clemson defense will be forced to play assignment football, which can sometimes negate the speed advantage the Tigers will have in this game. QB Riley Skinner has completed over 70 percent of his passes this year and can make plays when the pocket breaks down. "You watch him on film and he makes throws that don't appear to be there, so we have to be careful with him," said safety Mike Hamlin.
KEYS FOR CLEMSON'S SPECIAL TEAMS - Wake Forest leads the ACC in kickoff returns, thanks to Kevin Marion and his 33 yard average. Marion is as dangerous as they come and given the Tigers inability to contain kick returns earlier in the year, this is one of the major keys in Saturday's game. Remember, Marion returned the opening kickoff 93 yards last season against Clemson. Also keep in mind the Deacs have scored nine non-offensive touchdowns this year, including two on special teams and kicker Sam Swank is one of the best in the country. The Tigers can ill-afford any sort of special teams mishap and expect to win this game. A strong performance on special teams starts with containing Wake's kick return game.
INTANGIBLES - In what is being billed as one of the biggest Novembers in recent memory, the Tigers are playing for the Atlantic Division title and they control their own destiny. A loss means Clemson is likely eliminated while a win sets up a huge matchup with Boston College next weekend. How will this team play knowing it will dictate its own fate? Can the crowd become a big factor with so much on the line?
PREDICTION: Clemson 31 Wake Forest 27
Wake Forest will move the ball on Clemson's defense and put points on the board, but the Tigers have been too good on offense this season, particularly in the passing game to allow the Deacs to get the win. Clemson wins, but it comes in a little closer than what the experts expect in a higher scoring affair.
PRE-GAME SHOW INFO: The Tiger Pre-game Show with Roy Philpott and Scott Rhymer will be broadcasting live from the Lawn at Littlejohn 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM Saturday morning. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 59th consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
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