Boldin's First Touchdown Catch Lifts No. 21 Wake Forest to 12-7 Victory
Oct. 9, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Riley Skinner hit D.J. Boldin on a seven-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference as No. 21 Wake Forest (4-1, 2-0 ACC) rallied for a 12-7 victory over Clemson (3-3, 1-2 ACC) in front of 33,988 fans at BB&T Field.
The victory for Wake improved the Deacons to 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 1987. In that season, Wake Forest opened conference play with victories over NC State and North Carolina.
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe picked up his 50th win as head coach of the Deacons. Grobe's record at Wake Forest currently stands at 50-40.
The game was dominated by both defenses as both teams struggled to find any rhythm on the offensive end. The Wake Forest defense was dominant early, holding Clemson without a first down until midway through the second quarter. The Tigers only gained 198 yards of total offense on 58 plays, while Wake Forest had 342 yards on 82 plays. Wake Forest held Clemson to only 21 yards on the ground on 23 attempts.
The Wake Forest defense was also very good on third downs, holding Clemson to 2-of-14 on third down attempts. The Deacons were successful on third down plays, converting 10 of 21 third-down attempts.
Skinner combined for 259 yards of total offense, including a career-high 73 yards rushing on a career-high tying 11 attempts. Skinner threw for 186 yards and one touchdown pass.
The 12 points scored by Wake Forest were the fewest points needed for a home victory since 1994 when the Deacons defeated Appalachian State 12-10.
With Wake Forest trailing 7-6, the Deacons went on a 15-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that would give them the lead for good. The Deacons converted three times on third down on the drive, including a 28-yard pass from Skinner to D.J. Boldin on 3rd-and-24 from the Wake Forest 8-yard line. The drive culminated on a 7-yard pass from Skinner to Boldin to give Wake a 12-7 lead with 5:28 remaining in the game. The touchdown for Boldin was the first of his career. Wake attempted a two-point conversion but Skinner's pass was incomplete.
Clemson was able to pick up one first down on its next drive, but could do no more. On a 4th-and-17 Cullen Harper hit Xavier Dye with a 19-yard pass to keep the drive alive. However, the Tigers were not as fortunate on their next fourth down as Harper's pass was batted away by Stanley Arnoux to end the drive.
A 3-yard run by Josh Adams on 3rd-and 2 from the Clemson 21-yard line sealed the game and allowed Wake Forest to run out the rest of the game clock.
After forcing a three and out from Clemson on the initial possession of the game, Wake Forest was able to move the ball down to the Clemson 1-yard line. The Deacons ran the ball seven times on the first drive, including a 21-yard run from Riley Skinner that put the ball at the Tiger 1-yard line. The Deacons were unable to punch the ball into the endzone, settling for a 25-yard field goal attempt from Shane Popham. The snap on the field goal was low and the kick came up short to keep the game scoreless.
Wake Forest was again able to move the ball inside the Clemson 5-yard line on its second drive of the game, but again had to settle for a field goal chance. This time, Popham converted from 22 yards to give the Deacons a 3-0 lead with 1:23 remaining in the first quarter. The kick by Popham was the first time since November 13, 2004 that someone other than Sam Swank had made a field goal for the Deacons.
The Deacons dominated the first quarter statistically. Wake Forest out-gained Clemson 120 to -3 in the opening 15 minutes of play. The Deacons had 21 plays compared to only eight snaps for the Tigers.
Clemson picked up its first first down of the game on its fifth offensive possession. On a 2nd-and-12 at the Clemson 12-yard line, Cullen Harper hit Tyler Grisham on a 22-yard pass play. The Tigers advanced the ball as far as the Wake Forest 47-yard line. On 4th-and-1, Clemson attempted a fake punt on a direct snap to Michael Hamlin, but the play was snuffed out by Anthony Davis.
The Deacons were able to get one first down on the ensuing drive. Clemson was whistled for a 15-yard facemask penalty that advanced the ball to the Clemson 29-yard line. The Deacons were unable to get another first down and had to settle for a 39-yard field goal. The attempt by Popham was wide right to keep the score at 3-0.
The Tigers were able to advance the ball into Wake Forest territory on its next drive, but was unable to get in field goal range before the first half expired.
After the two teams combined for four punts on the first four drives of the second half, Wake Forest was able to advance the ball into Tiger territory on its third drive of the second half. On 4th-and-4 from the Clemson 30-yard line, Skinner's pass to Andrew Parker was incomplete, ending the drive.
Clemson was able to take its first lead of the game on its third drive of the second half. On the first play of the drive, Harper hit Nelson Faerber with a 35-yard pass play to the Wake Forest 35-yard line. It appeared Wake Forest had stopped the Tigers on a 3rd-and-2 from the Deacon 27-yard line, but pass interference was called on Chip Vaughn keeping the drive alive. The Tigers found the endzone for the first time on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Harper to Jacoby Ford to give Clemson a 7-3 lead with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Wake Forest created its first turnover of the game on the next Clemson drive. On a 3rd-and-4 at the Clemson 19-yard line, Alphonso Smith stepped in front of a Cullen Harper pass and made the interception, returning the ball to the Tiger 16-yard line. The interception was the 17th of his career, which tied Ronnie Burgess and A.J. Greene for most career interceptions at Wake Forest.
The Deacons were able to convert the turnover into points as Popham connected for his second field goal of the game. Wake Forest only picked up two yards on its drive, forcing the Popham kick from 32 yards to cut the Clemson lead to 7-6 with 12:57 left in the game and setting up the heroics from the Wake Forest offense.
The Deacons return to action on Saturday, October 18, traveling to College Park, Md., to face Maryland in another crucial ACC Atlantic Division test. Opening kickoff is slated for Noon (ET) and the game will be televised live by Raycom.