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Wake Forest vs. Clemson Statistical Preview

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The advanced metrics match what our eyes tell us about these two teams.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will host the Clemson Tigers on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. How do these two teams match up on paper? We head to the advanced statistics to find out.

All data through 10/25.

Wake Forest Offense vs. Clemson Defense
Side S&P+ Passing S&P+ Rushing S&P+ Success Rate
Wake Forest Offense 75.8 (127th) 79.0 (116th) 49.0 (128th) 25.7% (128th)
Clemson Defense 140.2 (3rd) 159.5 (4th) 154.3 (3rd) 30.1% (3)

This is one of the biggest mismatches you can have in the country. Wake Forest has the 127th ranked offense in the country according to Football Outsiders, while Clemson has the 3rd best defense. Clemson is led on defense by Vic Beasley, who already has 8 sacks on the season. The Clemson defense has 78 tackles for loss on the season, which is nearly 10 per game. When you factor in Wake Forest's offensive line, it does not bode well for Wake's rushing game and John Wolford's time in the pocket. Clemson's excellent pass rush forces quarterbacks to make decisions before they are ready, and therefore the Tigers have the 4th best passing defense in the country. Wake Forest has the worst offensive success rate in the country, which means that pass rush will be coming often.

Wake Forest Defense vs. Clemson Offense
Side S&P+ Passing S&P+ Rushing S&P+ Success Rate
Wake Forest Defense 101.7 (61st) 101.0 (70th) 107.3 (50th) 39.4% (39th)
Clemson Offense 107.2 (44th) 110.9 (42nd) 100.2 (74th) 38.3% (99th)

The good news for the Wake Forest defense is that they don't have to go against Deshaun Watson. The freshman phenom averages 10.5 yards/attempt compared to Cole Stoudt's 6.3, meanwhile his quarterback rating is 186.95 compared to Stoudt's 115.7. Stoudt has 4 interceptions on the year, which should play into the hands of Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson and Bud Noel. If Wake Forest is to have any chance in this game, then they are going to need to force Stoudt to throw several interceptions. Clemson is not in standard down situations very often, so that should mean Stoudt has to throw more than Clemson would like.

According to Football Outsiders, Wake Forest has the best special teams unit in the country, while Clemson's is 91st. Wake is going to have to dominate this aspect in order to win.

Continue to follow Blogger So Dear throughout the week for more coverage of the Clemson game.