No. 19 Tigers avoid upset threat by Demon Deacons

clemfoot-scottClemson wide receiver Artavis Scott scored on a 68-yard pass play from quarterback Cole Stoudt on the first play from scrimmage after Wake Forest tied the game in the fourth quarter, allowing the No. 19 Tigers to escape with a 34-20 victory on a windy Thursday night at BB&T Field.

Running back Wayne Gallman added a 30-yard touchdown run with 6:36 remaining as the Tigers (7-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) stretched their winning streak to six games.

The outcome allowed Clemson to stay in contention in the ACC’s Atlantic Division and a provided a sigh of relief for thousands of Tigers fans who made the trip.

Wake Forest (2-7, 0-5) is guaranteed a losing record for the sixth year in a row. The Demon Deacons gained 129 yards of total offense.

Stoudt completed 26 of 42 passes for 282 yards. Scott racked up 122 receiving yards on eight catches, while Gallman rushed for 106 yards on 19 carries.

Wake Forest tied the game at 20-20 on kicker Mike Weaver’s 31-yard field goal with 11:08 remaining, picking up 27 yards worth of penalties on the 40-yard drive.

Clemson safety Robert Smith was ejected for targeting a fourth-quarter hit on tight end Cam Serigne, who made two first-half touchdown catches. That helped set up Wake Forest’s tying drive, though Serigne didn’t return to the game.

After taking a 20-17 lead on kicker Ammon Lakip’s 39-yard field goal, Clemson reached the Wake Forest 9 before a fourth-down play went awry late in the third quarter.

Clemson opted to give quarterback Deshaun Watson another week to heal after suffering a broken bone in his right hand Oct. 11.

Wake Forest tied the game at 17-17 on the last play of the first half on Weaver’s 50-yard field goal. It came on an untimed down after Clemson defensive end Tavaris Barnes’ personal foul extended play.

Clemson took a 17-14 lead on Stoudt’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Scott with 27 seconds left in the first half.

Wake Forest used two touchdown passes from quarterback John Wolford to Serigne to claim an earlier lead.

Cornerback Kevin Johnson’s interception of Stoudt set up Wake Forest’s first-quarter touchdown. Serigne caught a 4-yard scoring pass.

Clemson struck on kicker Ammon Lakip’s 28-yard field goal with 8:49 left in the second quarter to complete a drive that included a fourth-and-14 pick-up because of pass interference.

The Tigers defense then held, and when Wake Forest punter Alexander Kinal fielded a low snap, his knee touched the ground and that gave Clemson possession at the Wake Forest 23.

Gallman took a third-down screen pass from Stoudt for an 18-yard touchdown play. That was the first touchdown reception by a Clemson running back this season.

But the next time Wake Forest went into punt formation, Kinal’s wind-aided boot was muffed by Adam Humphries, recovered by Johnson at the Clemson 13.

The Demon Deacons converted that into a 14-yard Wolford-to-Serigne touchdown play with 4:31 remaining in the first half before Clemson’s go-ahead, 12-play drive.

At the outset, Wake Forest edged into Clemson territory on the game’s opening possession, converting two third-down plays against a defense that ranks first nationally by limiting foes to 23 percent on third-down conversions.

Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson had two tackles for losses in the first quarter.

Photo courtesy of CU Athletics

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