Week 2 of the unorthodox season of college football continues Saturday when preseason #1 Clemson Tigers travels to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in an Atlantic Coastal Conference contest.
College Gameday will be in town to see the defending ACC Champions battle their conference foe. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST inside Truist Field in Winston-Salem, N.C. According to oddsmakers, the Clemson Tigers are a -32.5 point favorite in the tilt.
What to Know – Clemson Tigers
The Clemson Tigers were perfect through the 2019 season before facing Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers in the CFP National Championship. The Tigers lost a majority of its offensive starters from last season but did return a bulk of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
Heisman frontrunner Trevor Lawrence returns under center for the Tigers, the runaway favorite to be the top selection in next year’s NFL draft has thrown for more than 6,000 yards and 66 touchdowns in two seasons. The junior quarterback has also rushed for just shy of 1,000 yards (967) with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Starting running back Travis Etienne returns for his final season at Clemson. Etienne enters the 2020 season having rushed for 4,038 yards on 518 carries. The elusive back has scored a school and ACC record 56 rushing touchdowns.
Senior Amari Rodgers will lead a group of talented but inexperienced wide receivers after star Justyn Ross suffered a potentially career-ending spinal injury. The Tigers will also welcome four new starters to the offensive line.
On defense, the Tigers bring back last season’s second-leading tackler James Skalski. Xavier Thomas is sitting out this season after contacting COVID and having lingering issues, but Tyler Davis returns to the defensive line after starting every game last season as a freshman.
What to Know – Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest has found themselves in bowl games in each of the last four seasons and are continuing to improve each year under head coach Dave Clawson. WF finished last season with a 8-5 overall record and 3-5 mark in conference play.
The Demon Deacons’ offense has been on the best in the nation over the last few seasons, consistently ending up in the top quarter of division-1 schools. Those numbers were assisted by starting quarterback Jamie Newman who elected to graduate transfer to Georgia during the offseason. Wake Forest welcomes back just two offensive starters from last season’s team.
Projected starter Sam Hartman started as a freshman for Wake before suffering an injury and eventually being beaten out by Newman. The playmakers surrounding him will be inexperienced but have seen some game action. The biggest key for Wake will be how effectively they are at running the ball against Clemson’s talented defense.
Defensively, the Demon Deacons return their entire starting front seven from last season, including All-ACC defensive end Carlos Basham Jr. Wake also returns a pair of linebackers, Ryan Smenda and Ja’Cquez Williams to man the second level.
The Pick is In
Wake Forest is well-coached and has turned out winning season over the last four years. Wake returns a majority of its defense which should allow the Demon Deacons to slow down the Clemson offense a bit early. Clemson possesses just too much talent compared to Wake’s roster, led by arguably one of the greatest college football quarterbacks of all-time. This game may be close for a bit, but expect Clemson to run away with it. Take Clemson -32.5 and feel confident about it.