Preview and Prediction: Clemson Tigers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Zach Lentz

Clemson will take to Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium one final time in 2019 in search of a school record 22nd consecutive home win when the team hosts Wake Forest on Saturday, Nov. 16. Kickoff in Death Valley is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (ABC).

This will also be the first game since clinching the ACC Atlantic Division last week at NC State to earn its fifth consecutive ACC Championship Game berth, a first in conference history. This week, Clemson can become only the second program in conference history to finish back-to-back years with an 8-0 record in regular season conference play. 

Prior to the game, Clemson will honor its 2019 senior class with Senior Day festivities. Presently, Clemson's seniors hold a 51-3 overall record in the last four years, standing as one of only five senior classes in FBS history to post at least 51 career wins in four years. The group is 26-1 in Death Valley, 29-2 in ACC regular season play (32-2 against the ACC overall) and has spent its entire tenure in the AP Top 10, including an active streak of 34 consecutive appearances in the AP Top 5.

Who to watch when Clemson has the ball:

Trevor Lawrence (QB):

Trevor Lawrence will look to continue his record setting season, as he will look to throw a touchdown pass in a 21st consecutive game. His current 20-game streak is the longest active streak in the country. Lawrence is entering the game with 53 career passing touchdowns, the second-most through a sophomore season in ACC history, and Lawrence (23) sitting seven passing touchdowns shy of joining Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson as the only players in school history to throw 30 touchdown passes in multiple seasons. 

Lawrence is also attempting to throw three touchdown passes in six consecutive games for the first time in his career. He is already the first Clemson quarterback to accomplish the feat in five straight games.

Travis Etienne (RB): 

With a multitude of Clemson career records now in hand, Etienne's next run on record books may come at the conference level, where he ranks in the Top 5 in ACC history in rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, 200- yard rushing games and yards per carry.

Etienne reached 1,000 rushing yards on the 2019 season in Clemson's ninth game despite averaging 13.7 carries per game through the team's first nine contests. In reaching the 1,000-yard mark in that game against Wofford, he tied the mark for the fastest any Clemson player has rushed for 1,000 yards in a season and became only the second Clemson player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in single-digit games.

Nasir Greer (S; Wake Forest):

Greer ranks second in the league in forced fumbles with two heading into their game with the Tigers.

Played in 12 games and was on the field for 487 snaps in earning first varsity letter as a freshman and finished 11th on the team with 41 tackles and had the most tackles of any true freshman on the team. However, in his sophomore season Greer has taken his game to another level.

Through nine games, Greer ranks second on the Demon Deacons team in tackles with 57, combined with one interception and three pass breakups.

Who to watch when Wake Forest has the ball:

Isaiah Simmons (S): 

In addition to being Clemson's most prolific tackler, Simmons leads Clemson this season in sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (11.5) while also contributing five pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Presently, Simmons is one of only five FBS players — and one of only two in the Power Five — credited with at least 65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks this season. Among that group, only Simmons, North Carolina's Chazz Surratt and Florida Atlantic's Akileis Leroy are the only ones to also record an interception this season

With two regular season games and the postseason still remaining, Simmons is already the fourth Clemson player since 2000 to record at least 65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks in a season. The other three to accomplish the feat are some of Clemson's most decorated defenders of the last decade (and, notably, all defensive linemen). 

Defensive Line: 

Clemson held Texas A&M to 2.0 yards per carry on 27 carries in Week 2, the lowest yards-per-carry average allowed by Clemson since holding Boston College to 0.3 yards per carry on Nov. 10, 2018. A week after the Texas A&M game, Clemson then held Syracuse to 0.4 yards per carry in prime time. The games represented the 18th and 19th times since 2014 that Clemson has held an opponent to 2.0 or fewer yards per carry, fourth-most in the country. Clemson is 18-1 in those contests.

Prior to facing Louisville on Oct. 19, Clemson had gone 27 consecutive games without allowing opponents to produce a 100-yard rusher, which had been the longest active streak in the country and the school's longest since at least 1980. Clemson's two 100-yard rushers allowed since 2018 rank tied for the second-fewest in the country.

Jamie Newman (QB; Wake Forest):

 Newman has started 12 games dating back to last year and thrown for over 200 yards in 11 contests with four 300-yard games and a 400-yard game. 

He has also thrown a touchdown pass in all 12 starts and multiple TD passes in nine of 12 starts, and has 31 touchdown passes in his first 12 career starts. Newman is the ACC leader in total offense yards per game with 324.8 and is ninth in the nation, as well as the ACC leader in passing yards per game with 287.1 and ranks ninth in the nation.


Clemson enters this year's game against Wake Forest in search of its 11th consecutive victory against the Demon Deacons. 

The Tigers' 10-game winning streak is its longest active winning streak against any FBS foe. The Tigers have produced 10-game winning streaks against opponents seven times in school history. Wake Forest is the only opponent against whom Clemson has recorded multiple winning streaks of 10-plus games, posting a 15-game winning streak against the Demon Deacons from 1977-91 as well as a 10-game streak from 1940-50.

With the Tigers entering the game as 34.5-point favorites the odds are that they will end their home schedule a perfect 7-0, the ACC schedule a perfect 8-0 and head into their second bye week at a perfect 11-0.


Zach Lentz:       Clemson-56 Wake Forest-10

Susan Lloyd:   This one is hard because Wake is so busted up right now. They have no defense, so I’ll give the Tigers their 50-plus points for the fourth straight game. Wake Forest offense, without Sage Surratt, is going to get creative. So I’ll give them 13 pts. Final score: 
                           Clemson-52     Wake Forest-13

Jeremy Styron: Same Shellacking as last week.                           
                          Clemson-59.   Wake Forest-10