The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are headed to Memorial Stadium to take on the Clemson Tigers at 3:30 EST on Saturday on ABC. While both of these teams are currently ranked, I do not expect the College Football Playoff Committee to have Wake Forest in the top 25 after completely falling apart last week against Virginia Tech and if they do, it will not be at #17 where they are currently ranked.
The biggest issue involving that loss was the fashion that this Wake Forest team lost on Saturday. Virginia Tech isn’t a horrible football team, but you cannot lose a game that you led 10-6 at half time by the final score of 36-17.
Leading into a massive game this week, I would not be super critical of Wake Forest if they had a look ahead game where they looked sleepy in the first half and lost the game in the process. The issue here is that this team had the lead at halftime and basically fell apart at the seams. I expect this game to get their full attention, but Clemson will not allow any room for comfort from the opening kick.
Clemson continued to roll last week and that is why they are -34.5 point favorites in this game. Clemson has taken care of business comfortably in every single game since their major scare to UNC earlier in the year. Clemson looks like a well-oiled machine recently, although it is against a pretty dreadful schedule.
I expect this game to be decided by the Wake Forest offense and their ability to move the ball on Clemson and the turnover battle. Clemson’s offense, particularly Trevor Lawrence, has struggled a bit with bad turnovers and they should not lose any game currently on their schedule or even get tested if they can avoid those. If not, I think someone could at least put up a fight.
Wake Forest may have some of the best skill that Clemson has seen this year, although that is not saying a ton. Wake Forest has a dynamic QB in Jamie Newman and Sage Surratt is a great and reliable receiving option.
Defensive Unit on Fire
Clemson’s defense has passed every test this season, if you can call these games tests, but they will be the best test to replicate an elite offense. While this Wake team is not an elite offense itself, you have to defend it as if they have threats all over the field, which some provide some sort of a challenge.
While I do not think that this challenge will be enough to win this game, I do expect Wake to put up more yards of total offense than we have seen Clemson allow in most games, as their weapons should create a few sizable gains.
On the other side of the ball, I see almost no way that Wake stops this Clemson offense for an extended period of time. If I were game planning against Clemson with a less-talented team like Wake Forest, I would likely try to stop the run and tempt Lawrence into making big time throws. While he will make these throws a lot and still beat you, maybe you force a few turnovers and you keep their defense on the field a lot if the only way Clemson scores is via the big play.
Clemson Takes Down Wake
Overall, I expect Clemson to win this football game, but I expect Wake to cover the spread because of the line. This line is too big for a decent offense against a team that notoriously works back ups into the game quick. I would not be surprised to see Clemson milking the clock in the fourth quarter up 24 and I would also not be shocked by a 4th quarter cover on the second or third string defense. Bet the Clemson Tigers at our favorite pay per head bookie site RealBookies.com
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