Clemson travels to Wake Forest tonight for another Thursday night extravaganza (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Dabo Swinney's team comes in riding a three-game winning streak with a 6-1 overall record and in first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division at 3-1. Jim Grobe's squad is 4-3 on the year and 2-3 in the ACC.
Clemson has won three straight in the series, but Wake Forest has won three of the past five games played in Winston-Salem. Jim Grobe and co. have experienced success in the Thursday night spotlight. ESPN's last two Thursday night games at Wake Forest ended in Demon Deacons victories: 24-21 over Florida State in 2007 and 12-7 over Clemson in 2008.
Clemson clinched the Atlantic Division championship in last season's 31-28 meeting with the Demon Decaons. Wake Forest made the Tigers sweat for it, though, as Clemson battled back from a 28-14 hole by scoring the game's final 17 points on two Tajh Boyd touchdown throws and a Chandler Catanzaro 43-yard field goal as time expired.
Wake Forest will have to find a way to slow down Chad Morris' explosive offense to pull off the home upset. Clemson ranks in the top 20 nationally in scoring offense (40.8 ppg), total offense (492.9 ypg, 6.17 ypp) and passing offense (301.1 ypg). The Tigers have scored 37 or more in every game since their season-opening 26-19 win over Auburn. Quarterback Tajh Boyd ranks second in the conference in total offense, while wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is second in the country with 845 receiving yards.
Unfortunately for Wake Forest, its best statistic, turnover margin, is also an area where Clemson excells. The Demon Deacons are plus-5 for the year, while Clemson is slightly better at plus-7. Still, the Demon Deacons will need to re-create its recipie from last year when they forced Clemson into three turnovers while committing none of their own. A fumble and interception in Clemson territory on consecutive drives allowed Wake Forest to push the score from 14-14 to 28-14. They will need more where that came from tonight.
Here is what Jim Grobe sees coming into the game tonight.