Something has to give when the undefeated, #5 ranked Clemson Tigers visit the 3-0, #21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
This is a benchmark game for both squads, with Wake Forest being at least a two TD favorite in all three of their wins and the Tigers not facing a spread lower than -24 in their 3-0 start.
Clemson has won 13 straight games in the head-to-head series since a 12-7 loss back in 2008. That includes a 48-27 win last season to cover the -17.5 number, but the Tigers are just -7.5 road favorites in the 2022 meeting.
Things Falling Into Place for Tigers
Some of the struggles you have to blame on it being the season opener, but Clemson didn’t look good in week one with just a 14-10 lead over Georgia Tech in the third quarter.
Once the Tigers found their groove, though, things were a lot different as Clemson scored 27 in a row for a 41-10 win that even covered the -24 point spread.
Saturday is a tough road contest, and it’s a real prove-it game for QB D.J. Uiagalelei. The junior has always been in a tough spot taking over the reins from #1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence, but Uiagalelei has also completed less than 60% of his passes in the wins over Georgia Tech and Louisiana Tech.
Uiagalelei should be performing better because defenses have been apt on stopping the Clemson running game led by Will Shipley, who had 139 yards on just 12 carries last week. Shipley has two TD runs in all three games this season.
Signature Win for Hartman?
Although he’s already proven himself as Wake Forest’s all-time leader in passing yardage (9,891), snapping the 13-game losing streak against Clemson would be a big notch in Demon Deacons QB Sam Hartman’s portfolio. It’s doable as well, with the Tigers allowing 243.7 ypg through the air.
Hartman missed the season opener against VMI with an undisclosed medical issue, so his 7 TDs to 2 INT stats have come in just two games.
Even though he’s reportedly healthy, the QB didn’t look right last week against Liberty, going 26/44 with two INTs, although he did have his second straight 300+ yard game and did toss three TDs.
Clemson at Wake Forest Pick and Prediction
Hartman puts up gaudy numbers for Wake Forest, but he’s not the most accurate passer out there, never completing more than 60% of his throws the past four seasons.
Clemson is giving up essentially nothing in the run game (73.7 ypg, 10th best in the nation), so the Demon Deacons are going to be throwing the ball early and often.
Wake Forest going to the air a lot is going to lead to some inevitable interceptions from Hartman and some good field position for Clemson.
At the same time, the Demon Deacons will find some success through their passing game. That formula points to a 34-28 or 41-31 type game which makes the total the play.
Pick: Over 56.5