House of Horrors

CLEMSON - No matter how many times you want to relive Gaines Adams' 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown two years ago, Groves Stadium/BB&T Field still hasn't been kind to the Tigers in recent years.

Call it a "house of horrors" of sorts.

Consider both the results and the strange plays that have occurred in the last three trips to Winston-Salem by the Clemson football team:

In 2003, Wake Forest bolted out to a 45-0 lead before cruising comfortably to a 28-point win, but the score only tells part of the story.

In the game itself, QB Charlie Whitehurst threw an interception which bounced off the facemask of wide receiver Kelvin Grant and into the hands of Wake corner Eric King, who went untouched 85-yards to the end zone for a touchdown.

The Deacs also scored on a 12-yard fumble return later in the very same quarter.

In 2005 Wake Forest rallied in the final minutes on a last-second touchdown pass from Cory Randolph to Kevin Marion that helped lead the Deacs to a 31-27 win.

Once again it was a series of strange plays, including two batted around interceptions, a blocked punt, the ninth-longest touchdown pass in Demon Deacons history, and a very curious fake field goal call led to the team's demise.

In 2006, it took the miracle of a botched field goal returned 66 yards for a touchdown that turned what would have been a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit into a 10-point win.

Perhaps that was the play, that, pardon the pun, "exorcised the Demons," but even then the Deacs scored on an end-around reverse pass back to QB Riley Skinner to take a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.

In fact, Clemson hasn't beaten Wake Forest by more than 10 points since 1997 (Clemson 33 Wake Forest 16).

So what is it about Groves Stadium/BB&T Field that seems to give the Tigers fits? Outside of improved play under head coach Jim Grobe, and a couple of unlucky breaks, there isn't a clear-cut answer.

CUTigers.com checked in with a handful of Tigers this week to find out more:

OL THOMAS AUSTIN: It's a tough environment. It's not necessarily a big stadium but it's not like what it was a long time ago. The fans are right on you and they are very loud. The big thing is you know Coach Grobe is going to have his guys ready to play well. That's the big thing- Wake Forest is just an improved team from what it was earlier in the decade.

QB CULLEN HARPER: We've had some unlucky breaks up there but they have always played us well. This will be my first start up there but I remember the fans being right on top of you. It can get pretty loud. They've got plenty of skill players on defense, including two that are probably going to be drafted on the first day in Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith.

RB JAMES DAVIS: The fans are right there on top of you and you hear their fans right behind you. Especially if you are losing the game, people are saying all kinds of stuff. But going up there, I think we've been pretty successful but it just seems like we get down early. So we've got to stay focused.

CB CHRIS CHANCELLOR: Well they are one of our divisional rivals and the students up there get on you on the sidelines. They get geared up for the game. It's a good atmosphere up there now. I heard they were doing the black-out up there so I'm sure their fans are going to be fired up.

TE MICHAEL PALMER: Thursday night games are always tough, for starters. I remember my first game where I started against Virginia Tech on the road two years ago and how loud it was. It's not quite the same up at Wake but it's a good environment. It just seems like we always get down early and then have to come back.

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