The Clemson Tigers football team slipped to No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings after a loss to Pitt and now has to rebound against Wake Forest to earn a spot in the ACC title game.
Who: Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (6-4, 3-3)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, N.C. (31,500)
TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams)
Radio: WZMJ-FM 93.1 FM in Columbia area, Clemson TV Radio Network
Satellite radio: SiriusXM 194
Series record: Clemson leads 63-17-1
Line: Clemson by 22 1/2
What’s at stake
Clemson took a hit with the loss to Pitt, but winning this and the next two should send the Tigers to playoffs comfortably. A loss and they’re all but out as they cede the division to Louisville. Wake Forest has already exceeded expectations with bowl eligibility, and even hanging with Clemson would be a big step.
The teams, by the numbers
|Opp. Yds Rush/Game||135.1||152.4|
|Opp. Yds Pass/Game||192.9||229.4|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||328.0||
Three Story lines
1. Kind of a big deal. This game is simply the key to Clemson’s playoff hopes. Win and that dream lives on. Lose and the Cardinals slot into the driver’s seat. In the last year with Deshaun Watson and a lot of the stars on this roster, there’s urgency to make this run count.
2. Tough D to crack. Wake Forest possesses a pretty tough defense. That’s heavily built on strong play in the red zone and forcing turnovers. Some of the yardage totals look worse than they are because of facing several very good offenses.
3. Sling it less? Watson threw an astronomical 70 passes against Pitt and it highlights how the running game has struggled a lot. The offense has topped 5 yards a carry just twice this season, and that can leave the Tigers vulnerable with the load Watson has to carry.