November 20, 2015

Game Prediction - Clemson vs. Wake Forest

Enjoy every second of Saturday’s game against Wake Forest because it will be the last time you see this group of young men don the tiger paw in Death Valley.

It’s the last time you’ll see Zac Brooks, Eric Mac Lain, Joe Gore, Ryan Norton, Charone Peake, D.J. Reader, and several other Clemson players. Enjoy what a special season 2015 has been one last time in Memorial Stadium.

While you’re enjoying Senior Day, don’t forget to stop for a second and pay homage to the men and women who have sacrificed for our country and the reason why Clemson’s football stadium is named Memorial Stadium.

KICKOFF: 3:30 P.M.

Clemson’s defense has struggled over the last three weeks, particularly with the running game. Did defensive coordinator Brent Venables do enough to get their attention? Can they get back to form against one of the worst offenses in the country? The Demon Deacons are 112th nationally in total offense (339 ypg), 119th in scoring offense (17.5 ppg), 121st in rushing offense (a paltry 111.10 yards per game) and 59th in passing offense at 228 yards per game. Wake Forest has played two quarterbacks – sophomore John Wolford and freshman Kendall Hinton – but neither has found a ton of success because of the offensive line. Will we see more of the shift Hinton on Saturday?

In addition to all of the seniors playing their last game, this could be the final home game for defensive end Shaq Lawson, safety Jayron Kearse, and cornerback Mackensie Alexander. All three will be crucial to Clemson’s success Saturday and over the next two-plus games.

CLEMSON OFFENSE VS. WAKE FOREST DEFENSE: Clemson’s offense has been on a roll over the last five weeks with a punishing running game and an air-raid attack led by quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson continues to move up the Heisman boards and has multiple 400-yard games on the season. This week I expect Clemson to get back to the running game, which they got away from at times last week against Syracuse; however, I also expect to see senior Zac Brooks tote the rock a good bit on Saturday with starter Wayne Gallman nursing a sprained ankle.

Wake Forest brings in a top 25 defense led by senior linebacker Brandon Chubb, however Clemson has had success against the top defenses is the country. Just ask Boston College, N.C. State and Florida State.

SPECIAL TEAMS: I’m pretty sure I’ve written something similar in this space each week. Greg Huegel continues to impress as a walk-on kicker and is perfect in ACC play, but outside of his performance Clemson’s special teams have been average at best. Kickoff coverage continues to be a disaster and the Tigers have to find an answer on kickoff or punt return. Wake Forest brings in punter Alex Kinal, who leads the nation in career punts, and a kicker in Mike Weaver is 11-of-17 on field goals.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Wake Forest is coming to Clemson thinking they have a chance to win and treating it as their own National Championship game, but unfortunately for the Demon Deacons talent and the emotion of Senior Day will win out. Clemson’s defense will start playing like the unit we saw over the course of the first seven games, while the offense will continue to roll.


Post written by Clemson Girl Sports Bloggess Nikki Hood

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