Clemson football battles to stay undefeated as the No. 5 Clemson Tigers (3-0) will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to face off with ACC Atlantic division foe the No. 21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. This Week 4 matchup could determine the early favorite in the race for the ACC Atlantic title.
Best Bet: Clemson -7.0
Wake Forest has developed quite the offense program itself during the Dave Clawson era. The Demon Deacons offense are the only ACC team averaging at least 30 points per game over the last five seasons. However, they appeared to have some trouble moving the ball in their 37-36 victory over Liberty University Flames last weekend.
Demon Deacons struggled to execute their read-option game plan and only managing 21 yards on 21 carries against the Flames, after averaging 181 rushing yards in victories over Virginia Military Institute and Vanderbilt in the previous two games.
After essentially giving up on the run game, Coach Clawson leaned on junior quarterback Sam Hartman,. Hartman was been largely productive this season with 625 passing yards and seven touchdowns… but buckled under the Flames defensive pressure posting a 58.3 QBR.
That’s not going to get any easier with Wake Forest facing off with Clemson’s elite defense, anchored by Tigers’ NFL-caliber defensive line. Clemson comes into this matchup ranked eighth in the nation in success rate against the rush and seventh in expected points added per rush.
I am taking Clemson to cover this week.
Best Bet: Over/Under
While I believe Clemson’s defensive front seven will do enough to keep Wake Forest at bay enough to cover the spread, I do expect both teams to score some points. The Tigers secondary has not been nearly as effective and is coming into the Week 4 matchup dealing with some injuries.
With the Clemson defense shutting down the read option, Hartman is going to be wildly slinging the ball against a secondary that gave up 311 passing yards to Louisiana Tech’s Parker McNeil and 256 passing yards on 30 of 39 passes to Furman’s Tyler Huff.
Speaking of quarterbacks…
We cannot write a single Clemson Tiger Football article without mentioning D.J. Uiagalelei’s play. There is still a lot of discussion amongst media and fans regarding his play with at the quarterback position. However, as it turns out, all he needs to do is protect the ball and ensure clean hand-offs to his running backs.
Clemson football will stifle the run game and pressure Sam Hartman, similar to Liberty’s strategy against Wake Forest last week – with far more talented players to execute
Clemson won’t need stellar quarterback play against a Wake Forest defense who ranks 128th in the nation with a measly 27.4% defensive success rate against the run.
In particular, Tigers running back Will Shipley is an emerging star at the position. Despite sharing touches with Kobe Pace and Phil Mafah, Shipley has shown he can be a very productive offense weapon for the Tigers.
Shipley is averaging 7.8 yards per carry with six touchdowns on the season. It’s also worth noting that Shipley rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns against Wake Forest last season (and 191 rushing yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns for Pace in the same game).
I am predicting a 38-21 score, with Clemson taking the victory over Wake Forest.
(All odds courtesy of WynnBet.)