ACC College Football Predictions: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at #3 Clemson Tigers

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at #3 Clemson Tigers
Memorial Stadium – Clemson, South Carolina

Saturday, September 28, 2013, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Clemson -28 1/2
Current Line: Clemson -29
Opening Total: 59
Current Total: 58 1/2
Opening Money Line: Clemson -7000 / Wake Forest +3000
Current Money Line: Clemson -7500 / Wake Forest +3250

Clemson is a 29 point favorite at home against wake Forest Saturday.
Clemson is a 29 point favorite at home against wake Forest Saturday.

The #3 ranked Clemson Tigers are 3-0 this season as they host 2-2 Wake Forest Saturday in ACC action. This is the 79th meeting between the schools, and Clemson leads the series 60-17-1 including 35-7 at Clemson. The Tigers have won 6 of the last 7 and four straight against the Demon Deacons including 42-13 last year in Winston-Salem.

Wake Forest is coached by Jim Grobe. The Demon Deacons have wins over Presbyterian at home 31-7 and last week at Army 25-11. Wake Forest has losses at Boston College 24-10 and at home to Louisiana-Monroe 21-19. The Demon Deacons are 1-3 ATS and all four games have gone over the total. Wake Forest covered the 2.5 point spread over Army for the first time this season and the game went under the 48 point total.

Army scored first with a safety late in the first but Wake Forest would take a 10-5 lead into halftime. Army added 2 straight field goals in the third to take an 11-10 lead. The Deacons then scored late in the third and successfully went for two to make it 18-11. Wake added another touchdown with just over 9 minutes to go in the fourth. Army went 3 and out on their next possession, and Wake drove all the way to the Army 34 before punting. Army took the ball to the Wake 2 yard line, but time ran out. Wake had 360 total yards including 228 rushing yards. Army had 357 total yards and 271 total yards. Each team had 2 turnovers. Wake Forest had 9 penalties for 86 yards, and Army had 8 for 45.

Wake Forest is outscoring teams 21-16 this season. The Demon Deacons are averaging 334.8 yards per game on offense including 213 passing yards and 121.8 rushing yards. Wake is 83rd or worse in all offensive categories. On defense, the Deacons are allowing 311.5 total yards per game, including the nation’s eighth best pass defense at 143.2 yards per game and 168.2 rushing yards. Wake Forest is +3 in turnovers but has forced 11 turnovers this season. The Demon Deacons are averaging 49.5 penalty yards per game. Wake is 23/65 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 28/72. The Deacons have forced 6 sacks and allowed 8. Wake Forest is 8/13 scoring in the red zone with 4 touchdowns, and opponents are 9/12 with 5 touchdowns. Wake has one pick six this season.

Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price has completed 55.5% of his passes for 852 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 40 carries for 86 rushing yards and a touchdown. Running back Josh Harris has 44 carries, 151 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 catches. Receiver Michael Campanero has 25 catches, 354 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jonathan Williams has 13 catches for 206 yards. Orville Reynolds has 9 catches, 131 yards and 2 touchdowns. Linebackers Zachary Allen (disciplinary) and Steve Donatell (leg) are both questionable Saturday.

Clemson is coached by Dabo Swinney. The Tigers have home wins over Georgia 38-35 and South Carolina State 52-13, along with a road win at North Carolina State last Thursday 26-14. Clemson is 1-2 ATS and the total is 2-1. Clemson failed to cover the 12.5 spread at NC State and the game went way under the 65 point total.

Clemson kicked two early field goals to take a 6-0 lead. NC State scored early in the second to go up 7-6. Clemson scored with just over 2 minutes to go before halftime to go up 13-7. In the third quarter Wolfpack receiver Bryan Underwood appeared to score on an 83 yard touchdown catch that would have tied it up at 13, pending the extra point. However, officials blew the play dead at the Clemson 47 saying he stepped out of bounds. The play was unreviewable, but replays showed he appeared to stay in bounds. The Wolfpack had to punt and Clemson scored on their next possession to increase their lead to 20-7. The Tigers added another touchdown in the fourth to go up 26-7 but missed the two point conversion try. NC State scored with just under 4 minutes to go to get inside the number at 26-14. Clemson drove to the NC State 22 with 36 seconds left but went for it on fourth and 7 instead of kicking the field goal, irking Clemson backers in the process. NC State’s last possession ended with an interception as time expired.Clemson had 415 total yards and NC State had 378. NC State had 2 turnovers and 9 penalties for 57 yards. Clemson had no turnovers and 6 penalties for 45 yards.

Clemson is outscoring teams 39-21 this season. The Tigers are averaging 464.7 yards per game including 183.7 rushing yards and 281 passing yards. On defense, Clemson is allowing 388 total yards per game. The Tigers are +5 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. Clemson is 32/61 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 20/56 . Clemson has forced 12 sacks but has allowed 7 this season. The Tigers are 10/10 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns, and opponents are 6/7 with 6 touchdowns. Clemson has 2 pick sixes this season.

Quarterback Tajh Boyd has completed 62.2% of his passes for 683 yards with 6 touchdowns and no picks, along with 32 carries for 90 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Roderick McDowell has 44 carries for 243 yards, along with 3 catches. Receiver Sammy Watkins has 19 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Charone Peak had 8 catches and a touchdown, but he is out for the season with a knee injury. Martavis Bryant, Germone Hopper and Adam Humphries will also get significant catches. Hopper and Bryant both have two touchdown catches. Three defensive players are listed as questionable or out Saturday.

Wake Forest is 8-21 ATS after rushing for 200 yards or more, 1-4 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more and after passing for 170 yards or less, 3-13 against teams with winning home records, 1-5 after a cover, 1-6 overall, 0-5 after a straight up win, 0-7 against teams with winning records, and 0-4 after allowing less than 170 passing yards.

Clemson is 8-2 ATS in conference games, 9-4 overall, 1-4 on grass, and 0-4 after a straight up win. The last 5 games in this series have gone under the total.

I am not sure Wake Forest will be able to score enough to keep up with the explosive Tiger offense. Yes, Wake Forest has a good if not great defense, but scoring 21 points a game won’t cut it. Clemson should win this game rather handily.

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