Big First Half Helps Clemson Defeat Wake Forest 42-13
Tommy Bohanon had both of Wake Forest's touchdown catches against Clemson.

Oct. 25, 2012

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By Rob Daniels,

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest fans did the all-out Black Out thing Thursday night, but the statement did not transcend fashion. Clemson's powerful offense suffered few outages and remained true to form in a 42-13 victory at BB&T Field.

With their fellow students dressed in black from head to toe for the nationally televised ESPN Thursday night contest, the Demon Deacons (4-4, 2-4 ACC) were unable to match the No. 14 Tigers' breathtaking speed. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw touchdown passes to five teammates in the first half as Clemson (7-1, 4-1) became only the second team in ACC history to score 37 or more points in seven consecutive games. The Tigers joined Florida State's 1995 squad, which dropped more than 70 on three overwhelmed victims in its reign of terror.

Clemson brought averages of 493 yards and 41 points per game into Thursday and proved neither was an aberration.

"I think we didn't realize how fast those guys really were," Wake coach Jim Grobe said. "They got behind us a couple of times. On two or three of those (TD) passes, I thought we played pretty good coverage. And then Tajh Boyd did a nice job. We were close enough to knock the ball down, but the passes were right where they needed to be."

The game did mark the return - at least a week before projections - of wide receiver Michael Campanaro, the Deacs' most versatile and valuable offensive weapon. Campanaro, who suffered a broken hand in last month's loss to Duke, caught six passes for 52 yards against the Tigers.

"Hand feels good. Legs are a little tired," Campanaro said.

The Deacs hung with the Tigers for a quarter, but Clemson began to distance itself with a play to which it has become accustomed. On third down and 10 from his 39, Boyd dropped back, benefited from blitz pick-up and found Sammy Watkins along the left sideline. Watkins hauled in the pass, made two Deacons miss and proceeded all the way into the end zone to make it 14-0.

"We came out on the first two or three drives and stopped them," defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock said. "I don't know. They started throwing the ball on us and scoring."

In short order, Wake found itself in a position that so many others have.

"We got flustered after a few scores, and we weren't able to weather the storm," linebacker Riley Haynes said.

Down 35-0, the Demon Deacons sought to get back into it. Tanner Price found Tommy Bohanon for a TD with 12 seconds left in the first half and again midway through the third quarter and Wake Forest had a spark. Bohanon, listed as a fullback but placed at tight end or in the slot in passing situations, has become a nice change-of-pace option for Price. Five of his 12 catches on the year have been for touchdowns.

"Going into the hurry-up offense put us in a better mindset," Bohanon said.

The strikes weren't enough to mount a serious challenge, however.

The Deacons enter the season's final third needing two wins in their final four games to qualify for a bowl. They return to action on Saturday, Nov. 5 against Boston College (1-6, 0-4), then go on the road for contests at NC State and Notre Dame and conclude with Vanderbilt at home on Nov. 24.

Postseason play is feasible but still requires some work. Getting Campanaro healthy and fully integrated into the offense again should help. The redshirt junior accounted for nearly half of his team's reception total by himself in the first four games of the campaign.

"We think we can win them all, but we know we have to win two more to go to a bowl game and send these seniors out the right way," Campanaro said.

Scoring Drive Recaps

Clemson 7, Wake Forest 0 (4:03, 1st quarter)
The Tigers struck first on an eight-play, 80-yard drive keyed by a 57-yard completion from Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins. Boyd kept the drive alive with a four-yard rush to the Clemson 31 on third down and hit Watkins streaking along the left side for the huge gain just two plays later. Operating from the Wake Forest 10, Clemson took just three more plays to reach the end zone, when Boyd struck Brandon Ford who took the ball five yards for the score. Chandler Catanzaro converted the extra point to put the Tigers up by a touchdown.

Clemson 14, Wake Forest 0 (14:49, 2nd quarter)
The Boyd-to-Watkins connection was on full display once again on Clemson's second scoring drive of the night. Boyd found his favorite receiver twice on the five-play, 72-yard drive, completing the first pass for five yards and the second for a 61-yard touchdown bomb. The play initially looked like a short gain, but Watkins broke several tackles along the sideline and sprinted into the end zone to put the Tigers up by two scores.

Clemson 21, Wake Forest 0 (8:36, 2nd quarter)
Boyd accounted for all but 12 yards on Clemson's next seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Andre Ellington provided the first dozen yards on a rush to begin the drive, but Boyd took over from there. The quarterback went 4-of-5 for 61 yards on the drive and added seven yards on the ground as well. The Tigers found the end zone on a 12-yard strike from Boyd to Sam Cooper across the middle of the field to cap the drive.

Clemson 28, Wake Forest 0 (3:56, 2nd quarter)
Boyd found Watkins for the third connection of 50 or more yards between the two on the night. The 50-yard pass set up the Tigers at the Wake Forest 12, and Boyd wasted no time in finding DeAndre Hopkins in the corner of the end zone for his fourth touchdown pass of the contest.

Clemson 35, Wake Forest 0 (1:18, 2nd quarter)
The Tigers were set up with a short field after recovering a fumble by Josh Harris on the Wake Forest 19. Boyd rushed for 13 yards and a run by Charone Peake brought Clemson down to the two-yard line, and a pass from Boyd to Peake ended the drive with another touchdown for the Tigers.

Clemson 35, Wake Forest 7 (0:12, 2nd quarter)
Wake Forest finally got onto the board late in the second quarter on an eight-yard pass from Tanner Price to Tommy Bohanon. Price pushed the drive along, completing all five of his attempts for 50 yards to keep the offense moving. The drive was also aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty against Clemson for a horsecollar tackle on Michael Campanaro. Chad Hedlund kicked the extra point to give the Deacs seven points just before the half.

Clemson 35, Wake Forest 13 (7:45, 3rd quarter)
Harris powered the Deacons to their second touchdown of the night, rushing for 51 yards on two carries, including a 43-yarder down to the Clemson 18. On the very next play, Price found Bohanon for his second touchdown catch of the night on the right side of the end zone. Hedlund shanked the extra point attempt wide left, however, giving Wake Forest just six points from the drive.

Clemson 42, Wake Forest 13 (8:44, 4th quarter)
Clemson's final scoring drive of the night was also its longest, spanning 86 yards over 13 plays and taking just over five minutes off the clock. Boyd's passing spurred the Tigers to 48 yards on five completions, including a 25-yarder to Hopkins and one for 14 yards to Watkins. D.J. Howard punched it across the goal line for Clemson, their lone rushing touchdown of the night, from just one yard out. Catanzaro had his first extra point attempt blocked, but converted his second opportunity after an offsides penalty on the Demon Deacons.



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