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Clemson vs. Wake Forest: Tigers Squeak by the Demon Deacons 17-12

Clemson played very good defense and very poor offense en route to a 17-12 win over Wake Forest.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Clemson
Clemson’s defense played a great game today while the offense rarely seemed to get anything going.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone. Clemson returned to Death Valley today to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The defense played very well but the offense rarely looked effective and mostly looked pretty inept. But they played well enough to finish with a 17-12 victory.

Wake got the ball first and got a good start on their drive but an illegal forward pass and and aggressive Tiger defense put an end to the drive. After the punt Clemson started at their 20 but responded with a dud of a drive. A 54-yard Aidan Swanson punt gave Wake the ball at their 17.

Wake benefitted from a roughing the passer penalty and on the next play it appeared that the Tigers got a scoop and score, but the runner was ruled down and the Demon Deacon offense stayed on the field. The Tiger defense held Wake after that and a punt put the Clemson offense at their 8-yard line. Two plays later Cade Klubnik and Will Shipley couldn’t get an option read handoff to work and the ball ended up on the ground. Wake recovered it. at the Tiger 9. They moved down to the 2 and went for it on 4th down but couldn’t get it into the end zone. Clemson dodged a bullet and the score remained 0-0.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Clemson
Tyler Brown runs by a Wake Forest defender.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Tiger offense went 3-&-out and then the Deacs drove down into the red zone. The Tiger defense did their job and Ruke Orhorhoro got a sack to force a 35-yard FG attempt that was good. With 2:25 left in the 1st quarter, Wake Forest led 3-0.

The Tigers finally put together an effective drive as Klubnik started getting in sync with his receivers, but a holding penalty led to a 3rd and long that they didn’t convert. On 4th and 5, Klubnik hit Beaux Collins to move the chains and keep the drive alive. A few plays later on a 1st and goal, Klubnik ran it in from 7 yards out. The extra point made it 7-3 Tigers with a little over 10 minutes left in the half. Wake couldn’t do much against a stifling Tiger defense but a long punt pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory.

Clemson’s offense couldn’t do anything and punted. Wake had a good drive going but fumbled and the Tigers recovered it. Clemson’s offense had a few good plays, but quickly settled into their typical ineffective state and punted.. Wake didn’t do much either but their punt was muffed and the Deacs recovered at the Tiger 31. The Clemson defense was able to hold Wake and force a 39-yard FG attempt. It went wide left and halftime arrived with a 7-3 Tiger lead.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Clemson
Cade Klubnik scores for the Tigers.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson’s opening 2nd half drive started with WIll Shipley runs of 21 and 12 yards. Passes to Collins and TE Jake Briningstool and more Shipley runs put the Tigers at the Wake 10 yard line. The Tigers sputtered a little and faced a 4th and 1 at the 4. Shipley was able to move the ball down to the 2. Clemson then started going backwards and had to settle for a FG. At just over 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Tigers led 10-3.

Wake moved down the field but the Tigers appeared to stop them. A very questionable roughing the passer call on Jeremiah Trotter Jr, kept the drive alive. The defense kept it up, however, and forced the Deacs to settle for a FG to make the score 10-6 Clemson. The Tigers responded with a good drive, powered by good runs by Phil Mafah and Klubnik. But, as we have become accustomed to, the Tiger offense threw a rod and had to settle for a 51-yard FG that sailed wide left.

Clemson’s defense forced a 3-&-out and the offense took over at their 22 and served up their own 3-&-out. Wake’s response? Another 3-&-out. This game was really starting to become tiresome. But, the Tiger offense started showing signs of life and moved into the red zone. A Shipley run down to the 1 yard line set him up for a 1-yard run to extend Clemson’s lead. At 5:49 left, Clemson led 17-6.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Clemson
Beaux Collins makes a catch.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake’s response was pretty good and they scored after being helped by pass interference and face mask penalties on the Tigers. A 2-point conversion failed and the Tiger lead was 17-12. Clemson recovered the onside kick. The offense was able to run the clock out, ending the game with a 17-12 Tiger victory.

The Tiger defense looked really good today and the offense stunk it up. The offense clearly needs a lot of work. Klubnik and Shipley really need to work on the option read, as they have had two big fumbles where the two couldn’t decide whether it was going to be a handoff or a keep. What are your thoughts on the woes afflicting the offense? Let’s discuss it in the comments section below. The Tigers enter a bye week and hopefully they can work out some of these issues on offense.