GAME: Clemson (3-2, 1-1 ACC) at No. 21 Wake Forest (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
LOCATION: BB&T Field (31,500)
TIME: 7:45 PM EST
SPREAD: Deacs by 2.5
SERIES: Clemson leads the series 56-16-1
overall, including a 32-7 record in games played
at Clemson and a 28-7 mark in games played
in Death Valley. Clemson owns 56 wins over Wake
Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent. Clemson has 63 wins over South Carolina. 46 of those wins against
Wake Forest have taken place since the ACC
was formed in 1953. Clemson has a 20-9-1 lead in the series in games played at Wake Forest, including
12-5-1 in games played at Groves Stadium.
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 72-44 (90-48 overall) in the midst of his 10th season in Tigertown. He is also 7-2 against Wake Forest. Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe is 49-40 (82-73-1 overall) in his eighth season in Winston-Salem and 2-5 against the Tigers.
WAKE FOREST KEY PLAYER: QB Riley Skinner. Skinner, the most accurate passer in the nation a year ago and the 2006 ACC Rookie of the Year, threw four interceptions in a stunning upset loss to Navy. Given the Deacs have turned to Skinner to direct the offense in every way imaginable this season, that can't happen Thursday night against an opportunistic Clemson secondary.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: LB Brandon Maye. Slowly but surely, Clemson's inexperienced linebackers have continued to improve through their first five games of the 2008 season. But Wake Forest, which has been pass-happy this year, may try to fool the Tigers with more of a misdirection game Thursday night. If that turns out to be the case, Maye has to play well and use patience when diagnosing action at the line of scrimmage.
INJURIES: DT Jamie Cumbie (wrist) out, DT Rashaad Jackson (knee) out, OG Barry Humphries (knee) out, OT David Smith (ankle) out, DT Antwon Murchison (hamstring) probable, OT Jamarcus Grant (shoulder) probable.
CLEMSON QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think guys are relaxed. We haven't talked about the Maryland loss too much. I mean, we saw Virginia beat Maryland the way they did and we were like, on my God. They didn't even score a touchdown or anything. But I think Maryland will still probably prove to be a good team. We haven't talked about the loss much. We are just ready to move on from that and turn the corner." - Clemson RB James Davis.
WAKE FOREST QUOTE TO NOTE: "I couldn't be happier. We've practiced great. I don't think we could practice any better. I wish we could go back and maybe change some things before Navy, but as far as the practices for this one, they could not be better." - Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe on practice since his team's upset loss to Navy.
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: While Wake Forest has been given
Clemson trouble since Jim Grobe became the
head coach of the Demon Deacons in 2001, the
Tigers have defeated Wake Forest each of the
last two years, the only team that can make that
claim. Clemson won the 2006 contest at Wake
Forest by a 27-17 score, the year Wake Forest
won the ACC championship.
FORECAST: Cloudy. Rain likely in the morning. Then a chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 70s. East winds around 5 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.
[ Updated Forecast ]
* Harper Presses On
* Dan Scott Preview & Prediction
* House of Horrors
* Chancellor Braces for Pass-Happy Deacs
* Tigers Continue Preparing for Deacs
* Tigers Looking to Turn the Corner
* What We are Hearing...
* Spence Answers Critics
* Monday with Vic
* Tommy Bowden's Press Conference
* Game Notes
* Players Only
* BOWDEN: OL Tinkering Continues
* NOTEBOOK: Davis Gets Away
* Tigers Get Back to Work
* Depth Chart
PREDICTION: Clemson 30 Wake Forest 25
If the Tigers can avoid the foolish mistakes that have plagued them in recent trips to Winston-Salem, N.C., this matchup isn't nearly as scary as what was thought earlier in the season. The Deacs have problems of their own on the offensive line and have depended too much on Riley Skinner to win games. In addition, the Tigers have schemed the Deacs fairly well in recent years under defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. It may not be pretty, but Clemson wins this one to keep its ACC hopes alive another week.
TIGER PRE-GAME SHOW INFO: The Tiger Pre-game Show with Roy Philpott, Robert Thorne and Scott Rhymer will be broadcasting live from BB&T Field from 1:30 PM to 4:45 PM Thursday afternoon. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web at wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 68th consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
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