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Behind Enemy Lines: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Clemson Tigers start their march to another ACC title this weekend, as they travel to the state of North Carolina to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
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Head Coach: After reaching a program record fourth-straight bowl game and winning the Deacs eighth Big 4 Championship in 2019, head coach Dave Clawson is realizing the vision of what he set out to create. Furthermore, since the start of the 2017 season Wake Forest is tied for the second-most wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clawson has also engineered an offense that has rewritten the record books at Wake Forest. The Deacs have set over 300 school records including marks for points scored, total offensive yards, first downs and passing yards over the past three seasons. Clawson co-owns the school record for bowl victories, has climbed to the third-most wins in school history, and has led Wake Forest to a four-year period (2016-19) of success that had been unmatched since the 1940s.

Demon Deacons on offense: Warren Ruggiero begins his seventh season as Wake Forest’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach after previously serving in the same role under head coach Dave Clawson at Bowling Green. 

Over the last three seasons, Ruggiero has directed one of the most prolific offenses in college football. Ruggiero has coordinated a Demon Deacon offense that has set or tied over 300 offensive records in the past three seasons. The Deacons’ accomplishments over the last three years have included posting three of the top four total offense seasons in school history. 

Since the start of the 2017 season, Wake Forest’s 89 touchdown passes are more than any other ACC team and the most of any three-year period in school history. The last three seasons have produced the three highest-scoring seasons in school history with each club surpassing 400 points. Wake Forest’s 1,300 points scored during the last three years is the highest-scoring three-year period in Deacon history. 

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The Demon Deacons on defense: Lyle Hemphill enters his fourth season on the Wake Forest football staff after spending the previous six seasons at Stony Brook. Hemphill, who worked primarily with safeties his first two seasons on campus, added defensive coordinator duties at Wake Forest during the 2018 season. 

Since joining the Wake Forest staff prior to the 2017 season, Hemphill has made an immediate impact as the defensive coordinator while helping groom safeties for the NFL. Last season, the Deacs ranked in the top 20 nationally in third-down defense, fumbles recovered, interceptions and turnovers gained. 

The Early Line: Clemson is currently 32.5-point favorites on the road.