Clemson will look to even its conference record when it welcomes visiting Wake Forest to town for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Saturday.
The Tigers (3-2, 1-2 ACC) notched their first league win and quieted some of their detractors with a 31-14 victory at Syracuse last weekend.
“When you’re Clemson and (have) the amount of criticism and noise that these kids have to deal with, I’m proud of how they responded,” said Tigers coach Dabo Swinney, whose team opened the ACC slate with losses to Duke and Florida State.
Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1) has its own issues to sort out but had some time to do so. The Demon Deacons were off last week after falling 30-16 at home to Georgia Tech in their ACC opener on Sept. 23.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said the open week came at an ideal time.
“We’ve got to heal up, get healthy, have to evaluate what we’re doing, and we’ve got to fix our mistakes,” Clawson said. “Because if you keep doing this, it’s going to be a long next two months.”
Turnovers have hurt the Demon Deacons. They had five giveaways against Georgia Tech.
“We’re not going to beat anybody if we turn it over three times, let alone five times,” Clawson said.
This game presents Clemson with a chance to build momentum. Quarterback Cade Klubnik was praised for good decision-making against Syracuse, finishing 23-of-37 passing for 263 yards, two scores and no picks. Tyler Brown caught nine passes for 153 yards against the Orange.
The Tigers have thrown 137 consecutive passes without an interception.
“He’s just growing and growing and growing,” Swinney said of Klubnik.
Clemson running back Will Shipley continues to climb the program’s all-time charts. He’s now in ninth place in total touchdowns (30) after rushing for one against Syracuse.
Two injured Tigers players, receiver Antonio Williams and cornerback Nate Wiggins, could return to action after not making the trip to Syracuse.
Clemson has won 14 consecutive meetings with Wake Forest, including a 51-45 victory in double-overtime last season. The Tigers have a 70-17-1 lead in the all-time series.