“The Carolina Collision Course”

Saturday Spotlight

(1) Clemson Tigers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Clemson: There’s always one fact about college football. That’s players on both sides of the ball will either transfer or move on to the next level. It’s just the truth. The Clemson Tigers may have many different names on the offensive side as far as skill players are concerned, but they still have number 16 at quarterback. Trevor Lawrence is back for one more year which keeps Clemson in the title contender conversation. Also, Dabo Swinney is still the head coach. He’ll always have his guys ready to play. Last season, they won their fifth straight ACC Championship.  Their biggest win was the return of running back Travis Etienne for his senior season. For now, it’s them at the top with everyone else looking up. They enter as the favorite to win the national title this season. They will kick things off tonight in Winston-Salem against a conference rival.

Wake Forest: Coaching makes all the difference. Dave Clawson has led this program to four straight bowl games. In other words, he has led the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to a consistent wave of winning that this program has never seen. This year will be a challenge. Wake Forest loses their starting quarterback, leading rusher, three offensive linemen, a tight end, a linebacker, and both starting corners from last season. That’s so much depth to replace but this is the thing about our game. The turnover amongst programs. Their defense is slowly but surely improving over the years. There’s still a lot of work to do. It’ll take a while to get this program back to winning and that feeling is marvelous. Tonight, they face the best team in the ACC. Talk about a challenge.

Clemson X-Factor: Amari Rodgers– Their receiving core took a hit as I mentioned up top. Many football teams would be blessed to have a guy of Amari’s caliber. With Justyn done, Amari will step in as the number one. It would make sense because Trevor has the chemistry with him from years past. He has a way of really confusing defensive backs with his route running. Pay attention to that.

Wake Forest X-Factor: Sam Hartman– This is the luxury that they have: Being able to turn to a quarterback who has experience as a starter. Dave needs to coach this kid to his strengths. Sam isn’t the threat offensively that Jamie Newman was a season ago. It’ll take time throughout the year, but let him develop into his player and go from there.

Final Thoughts: Times may be different now (I hope you all are safe). But here we are with an ACC kickoff. Clemson is so superior to everyone in this conference. They won’t miss a beat with anything this year nor in this game. I see Clemson’s defense in full out attack mode tonight. Blitzes from all angles and doing everything to make this quarterback work. For Wake Forest to have some type of shot, Hartman must improve his accuracy and take better care of the ball. Wake must also keep Trevor in that pocket because he likes to escape and move with his feet.

Prediction: Clemson 55 Wake 24

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