5 reasons Clemson gets the win over Wake Forest

·5 min read

Dabo Swinney and Clemson take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at 12 p.m. at Truist Field in Winston-Salem (N.C.) this Saturday.

The No.5 Tigers are coming off a 48-20 Week 3 win over Louisiana Tech in a game where Clemson looked solid though fans and analysts expect more out of Swinney’s team. An away matchup with Dave Clawson’s No.16 Wake Forest is a huge test and opportunity for this Clemson team to make a statement on the road.

Clemson has dominated this matchup since Dabo Swinney’s first full season as head coach back in 2009. Since then, Swinney and the Tigers haven’t lost with a 13-0 record against the Demon Deacons in the Swinney era. Their last loss to Wake Forest back in 2008 directly resulted in the promotion of Swinney from wide receiver coach to interim head coach, and we all know how things turned out from there. 

(Watch and stream the game live on ESPN+)

Will Swinney and the Tigers extend their win streak to 14-games against the Demon Deacons? It is an excellent opportunity for this Clemson team, and they have the tools to do it.

Here are five reasons why Clemson will walk away with a win in their away game against Wake Forest: 

 

Clemson's defensive line will wreak havoc

(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Wake Forest’s starting quarterback Sam Hartman is a star, but this Clemson defensive line is loaded with stars, and they’re going to cause a lot of trouble for the Demon Deacons’ offense. The Tigers expect the entire starting defensive line to be healthy for this matchup, with Xavier Thomas and Myles Murphy on the ends and Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis in the middle. This group has started just two games together as the Tigers have dealt with their fair share of injuries the past couple of seasons. Hartman was sacked seven times in this game last season, and the defensive line this season is just as good if not better than last season. Expect a massive performance from this healthy defensive line.

Will Shipley will continue to show why he's the best player on this offense

Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Of all the players on this Clemson offense, Will Shipley is clearly “that dude”. Shipley is coming off his best game of the season in the Tigers’ 48-20 win over Louisiana Tech, where he had 139 yards on just 12 carries, averaging 11.6 yards per carry while breaking off multiple 20+ yard runs. Through three games this season, he has 249 yards and six touchdowns on just 32 attempts, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Shipley needs a heavy workload if the Tigers want to be effective on offense against Wake Forest. I’m expecting a huge performance out of the sophomore running back.

DJ Uiagalelei has shown enough to believe this offense can get the job done

Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

There will be people who disagree with this, as Clemson starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei isn’t appreciated by many fans. Still, Uiagalelei has shown enough this season for me to believe the Tigers shouldn’t have problems moving the ball this Saturday. As I said yesterday, Uiagalelei has been by no means a world-beater for this season for the Tigers though he has been better than many people have given him credit for. DJ has completed 64.8% of his passes for 662 yards and five touchdowns through three games with a 144.4 passer rating. If you’ve watched this Clemson team, you may be underwhelmed by his performance, but it is important to look at the entire picture. Some of DJ’s best passes this season haven’t even led to completions, with receivers either dropping the ball or just failing to make a play. I’m not here to say DJ is going to have a career day against Wake Forest; I’m here to say he’s been good enough to get Clemson a win.

Clemson's defense will have Wake Forest's offense one dimensional

Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Through three games, Wake Forest’s rushing stats aren’t necessarily bad… they’re just not great. The Demon Deacons have 384 yards on the ground with four rushing touchdowns; the key is their average yards per carry which is sitting at a relatively low 3.6 YPC. If they are struggling to get things going on the ground against other opponents, they’re really going to struggle to get things going against Clemson’s stingy run defense. The Tigers rank No.6 in the country right now in rushing defense, allowing just 68.0 yards per game and just a single rushing touchdown. With opponents averaging just 2.43 yards per career against Wes Goodwin’s defense, this Wake Forest offense will likely be forced into being one-dimensional in this matchup.

Swinney has never lost to Wake Forest as a head coach

Credit: Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports

While history doesn’t always repeat itself, it has a lot in this matchup during the Dabo Swinney era of Clemson football. This program’s 13-game win streak over Wake Forest is currently the team’s longest active winning streak against any FBS foe, while the Tigers also have the longest active winning streak in college football right now at nine straight wins. Swinney is one of the best college football coaches in the country, with a long historic history against the Demon Deacons. This streak is a clear advantage.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire