Clemson, S.C. – Clemson’s defense played lights out to lead the Tigers (4-2, 2-2 ACC) to a 17-12 win over Wake Forest (3-2, 0-2) at Memorial Stadium on Homecoming.
With the win, Head Coach Dabo Swinney earned his 165th career victory. This ties him with the winningest coach in school history, the celebrated Frank Howard (165 from 1940-69).
“We celebrate wins, but when it’s something like (Swinney’s milestone), that just makes it sweeter,” said Shipley, who finished with 97 yards on 19 carries. “So many great things I could say about coach Swinney. He’s a huge reason why I’m where I’m at today.
Will Shipley’s touchdown run late in the fourth quarter gave the Tigers a two-score lead, the Tigers recovered an onside kick with 1:34 to play after a Wake Forest touchdown. Phil Mafah ran for 33-yards on the game’s final drive to help Clemson run out the clock to defeat the Demon Deacons for the 15th straight time in the series.
Clemson’s defense produced eight tackles for losses, four sacks, a fumble recovery and 2.6 yards per rush allowed on 39 carries. Additionally, Clemson allowed only two third down conversions. The Tigers kept Wake Forest out of the end zone for the first 58 minutes of the game. R.J. Mickens racked up nine total
tackles on the day for the Clemson defense.
Cade Klubnik completed 18-of-28 passes to total 131 yards and added 48 rushing yards, including a seven-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter. Shipley led Clemson in rushing yards with 97, including his one-yard touchdown with 5:49 to play to give Clemson a 17-6 advantage.
The second half saw Klubnik escaping the pocket and making plays on the edge to keep drives alive. As part of a 16-play,
7:05 scoring drive where Clemson converted on fourth and five with a 10-yard completion to Beaux Collins. Klubnik got Clemson in the end zone first with a seven-yard rushing touchdown with 10:18 left in the first half.
Early in the game, a fumble gave Wake Forest the ball on Clemson’s nine-yard line to start Wake Forest’s third drive, but Clemson forced a turnover on downs to hold the Demon Deacons scoreless with less than 3:00 minutes left in the quarter.
On Wake Forest’s second play of their sixth drive, Khalil Barnes ripped the ball out of Wesley Grimes’ hands. R.J. Mickens recovered the loose ball and returned it 15 yards to the Clemson 38-yard line for the Tigers’ lone takeaway of the game.
A missed 39-yard field goal from Wake Forest kicker Matthew Dennis as time expired in the second
quarter kept the score at 7-3 at halftime.
“It’d be nice to be really good on both sides of the ball in the same year,” said Wake Forest Dave Clawson, in his 10th season at the school.
After driving 67 yards, Jonathan Weitz closed the possession with a 25-yard field goal to increase Clemson’s lead to 10-3. Wake Forest responded with a 22-yard field goal of its own with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Will Shipley later bulldozed his way one yard into the end zone to increase Clemson’s lead to 17-6 with 5:49 left to play. On Wake Forest’s next possession, Demond Claiborne scored the Demon Deacons’ only touchdown of the day on a three-yard run. Wake Forest failed on two-point conversion attempt.
The score remained 17-12 with 1:34 left to play.
Wide receiver Hamp Greene recovered Wake Forest’s onside kick attempt to give Clemson the ball at Wake Forest’s 44-yard line. Phil Mafah rushed for 33 yards on four carries on Clemson’s final drive to run out the clock and seal the 17-12 victory at home for Clemson.
Wake Forest heads to Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Clemson has a bye week before going to No. 17 Miami on Oct. 21