Clemson waited until the season’s final home game to unleash its best offensive performance, but needing a win to stay in the hunt for a seventh straight ACC title, the 48-point outburst couldn’t have been more timely. The Tigers piled up 333 rushing yards and 25 first downs in a 48-27 Senior Day victory over No. 10 Wake Forest at Death Valley, Saturday.
Kobe Pace spearheaded the rushing attack with a career-high 191 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 carries. Will Shipley also eclipsed the century mark with 112 yards, scored twice on the ground and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Davis Allen for good measure. Wide receiver Beaux Collins starred in the passing game, setting a career mark with 137 yards receiving and a 58-yard touchdown. D.J. Uiagalelei hit 11 of 19 passes for 208 yards, the touchdown to Collins and one interception.
With the victory, Clemson runs its home winning streak to 34. The 48 points and 543 yards is the most the Tigers have dropped on an ACC opponent since Trevor Lawrence returned from COVID protocol and led Clemson to 581 yards in a 52-17 win over Pitt on Senior Day last season.
Brent Venables’ unit played its role, as well, harassing Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman (Oceanside Collegiate) throughout the afternoon and racking up a season-high seven sacks, including one from sixth-year linebacker James Skalski. Clemson’s defense held Wake Forest to a season-low in points and allowed just 36 yards on the ground. All of this should come as no surprise to close observers of the series. Dave Clawson’s Deacons teams were only averaging 9.4 points/game against Clemson in seven meetings heading into Saturday’s game.
Representatives from the Holiday Bowl, TaxSlayer Gator Bowl and Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl were in attendance and had to be impressed with Clemson’s showing, but the Tigers (8-3, 6-2) still have a shot to represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl if the chips fall in their favor.
The Atlantic Division scenarios lay out thusly:
- Only Clemson, Wake Forest and NC State are alive for the Atlantic Division.
- Clemson is in the clubhouse with a 6-2 conference record. Their fate is out of their hands, but Saturday’s victory applies pressure to NC State and Wake Forest, forcing both teams into must-win scenarios.
- Wake Forest (6-1) has the most straightforward path, wrapping up the division with a win over Boston College next week to finish 7-1 in ACC play.
- Provided Wake Forest loses to Boston College, NC State (4-2) can force a three-way tie with wins over Syracuse (today) and UNC Friday. NC State would win the three-way tiebreaker in this scenario based on division record.
- If Wake Forest loses to Boston College AND NC State loses to either Syracuse OR UNC, creating a tie between Clemson and Wake Forest, Clemson will win the tiebreaker over Wake Forest based on Saturday’s head-to-head victory.
Clemson will wrap up its regular season with a trip to rival South Carolina next week. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.