(Thursday, October 9th)
Final Score: (21) Wake Forest 12, Clemson 7
Winston-Salem, NC (Sports Network) - Riley Skinner threw for 186 yards and a touchdown on 22-of-34 passing, and also added 73 yards on the ground, to lead No. 21 Wake Forest to a 12-7 victory over Clemson in an ACC clash.
Josh Adams gained 56 yards on 12 carries for the Demon Deacons (4-1, 2-0 ACC), who responded from their 24-17 loss to Navy on September 27. DJ Boldin had three catches for 35 yards and a TD in the win.
"We came into the game and told Riley (Skinner) that one of the reasons why we can't run the ball is because we have a quarterback that nobody expects to run the ball," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "We told him to buckle up because it was his turn tonight. One of the things he did do well tonight was he stayed in the pocket well when he felt the pressure."
Cullen Harper garnered 177 yards on 15-of-35 passing with one TD and a pick for the Tigers (3-3, 1-2), who gained just 21 yards on the ground and have now dropped two straight contests. Jacoby Ford caught five passes for 43 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
Clemson's C.J. Spiller left the game midway through the second quarter after a 10-yard gain with an undisclosed injury to his left leg.
"We tried everything. We tried going deep to Aaron Kelly and throwing deep over the middle to the tight end. We tried reverses, we tried fake punts, we tried C.J. (Spiller) on the outside and James (Davis) in the middle," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden lamented. "They were playing really well defensively. We just couldn't develop any kind of continuity and we sure tried everything we had."
Trailing 7-3, Wake took over at the Clemson 16 following an interception by Alphonso Smith, but the Deacons were unable to cross the goal line and settled for a 32-yard field goal from Shane Popham with 12:57 left in the game.
On Wake's next series, a false start on Jeff Griffin put the Deacons at 3rd- and-24 from their own eight. Skinner, though, answered as he hit Boldin for a 28-yard reception and a new set of downs. Wake continued to trek the field and Skinner hit Boldin for a seven-yard score with 5:28 left in regulation. The two-point conversion was no good, but the Deacons led 12-7.
"He definitely threw it to the right guy," Grobe said of Skinner's key pass to Boldin on third down. "I just can't tell you how proud I am of DJ Boldin. He's our leader right now offensively. He's a tough guy and makes plays. We try to get Riley to deliver the ball to the open receiver but when it gets to be crunch time, he knows that if he can go to Boldin, then we have a chance."
Clemson took over at its own 27 with just over five minutes left and no timeouts remaining. The Tigers were unable to move the ball and found themselves facing a 4th-and-17 from their own 20.
Harper remained calm and found Xavier Dye for a 19-yard gain, although the Tigers were unable to move the chains after that and the Deacons took over on downs and were able to run the clock down.
Wake Forest broke the scoreless tie as Popham hit a 22-yard field goal with 1:23 left in the first quarter.
The defenses then took over as the next four possessions each resulted in a punt, and Clemson appeared to make it five straight as it faced a 4th-and-1 from the Wake Forest 47. Michael Hamlin, though, got the ball for a fake punt but was stuffed for no gain.
The Demon Deacons then took over with 4:26 left in the half. They moved the ball all the way to 22-yard line before the drive stalled. Popham sailed the field goal attempt wide-right, and Wake's 3-0 lead held up through the intermission.
Wake Forest outgained Clemson 178-67 in the first half.
After five uneventful drives to open the second half, Clemson got the ball at its own 30 late in the third quarter. Harper hit Nelson Faerber for a 35-yard gain on the first play and the Tigers continued to march downfield before a Harper two-yard scramble made it 1st-and-goal from the five-yard line.
After a false start and an incomplete pass, Harper hit Ford coming across the middle for a 10-yard score to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead with seven seconds left before the final stanza.
The Deacons were forced to punt on their following drive, but Smith picked off Harper on the Tigers' ensuing possession to change the momentum. The interception tied a school record, as it was the 17th of Smith's career.
Wake Forest outgained Clemson 342-198...Clemson still owns a commanding 56-17-1 advantage in the all-time series with Wake Forest, and had won two straight over the Demon Deacons.
10/10 02:29:08 ET