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2021 Wake Forest Football Opponent Preview: Clemson Tigers

A quick look at the class of the ACC who is looking to retool.

Syndication: The Greenville News JOSH MORGAN/Staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Moving right along through the schedule, the Deacs will be close to the end of their season with a trip to Death Valley to face the Clemson Tigers.

Although Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and the rest of the competitive Clemson Tigers the past three/four seasons are gone, the talent level in Clemson, South Carolina continues to remain extremely high as the Tigers chase their seventh consecutive playoff appearance.

Game Date: Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Opponent: Clemson Tigers

Conference: ACC

Head Coach: Dabo Swinney (140-33, 86-17)

2020 Stats

Record: 10-2, 8-1

Highest Ranking: 1

Post-Season: 3

Wins: Wake Forest, The Citadel, UVA, Miami, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, BC, Pittsburgh, VaTech, Notre Dame (ACC Championship)

Losses: Notre Dame (regular season), The Ohio State

Yards per Game: 502.3

Yards Allowed per Game: 326.8

Points per Game: 43.5

Points Allowed per Game: 20.2

Clemson had an interesting season. Although earning a sixth consecutive ACC Championship and sixth consecutive CFP bid, Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne’s final collegiate season ended in a bitter fashion, getting shellacked by Justin Fields and The Ohio State Buckeyes. The Tigers had a fun season and even showed a glimpse of the future as the team battled with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The presumed starter for 2021, D.J. Uiagalelei, got a unique experience in the regular season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. A thrilling Double-OT game, Uiagalelei finished with 439 yards passing on 29/44 while also adding a rushing touchdown. All reports say that D.J. is ready to take the reigns of the offense and Coach Swinney is excited to see him play. Clemson will also have to replace Travis Etienne, a dominant and exciting playmaker. The successor to the touches are a bit murky still but for now, the senior Lyn-J Dixon seems like he will get the nod although Kobe Pace will definitely be in the mix. The Tigers also boast a pair of highly recruited freshmen in Will Shipley and Phil Mafah.

Defensively, the Tigers actually welcome back a couple of real veterans taking advantage of the COVID-19 eligibility. The heart and soul, James Skalski, returns, along with fellow veteran safety Nolan Turner. The defensive coordinator’s son come back as well to help the linebacking corp in Jake Venables. With all the talent in Clemson, plenty of freshmen have cracked the depth chart as well. The defense will continue to be strong and ready to keep the ACC in check.

Although tough to predict games this far out, Clemson will be a significant challenge for the Deacs. Wake has to travel to a hostile environment late in the season, giving the new pieces plenty of time to gel, especially on the offensive end. At the current moment, I believe the Clemson Tigers talent level just too big to overcome.