Tigers destroy the Demon Deacons
Senior C.J. Spiller sets new ACC all-purpose yardage record.
by BECCA CARTER
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on October 23, 2009 | PRINT

Capping a two-game losing streak and casting aside previous ACC turmoil, the Clemson Tigers redeemed themselves with an impressive 38-3 victory over Wake Forest at Clemson Memorial Stadium last Saturday.

With the win, Clemson is back in the ACC Atlantic Division race, tied for second with a 2-2 conference record and 3-3 overall. Wake Forest fell to 4-3 overall and shares the 2-2 conference tie with Clemson.

Rushing for 106 yards and two touchdowns, C.J. Spiller paced the Tigers with another record-breaking performance. Spiller erupted through the middle with a 66-yard score in the second period, and a 14-yard touchdown in the third. The 66-yard touchdown run continues Spiller’s 60-yard run streak for every game so far, of which five runs have been touchdowns. In addition, Spiller became the first running back in ACC history to go over 6,000 all-purpose yards.

Freshman quarterback Kyle Parker played well, completing 10-17 passes for 132 yards. He jumpstarted the Tiger offense with a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Palmer in the first three minutes of the ballgame. Then, early in the second quarter Parker ran for three yards and leaped into the end zone to put the Tigers up, 17-0.

“Kyle Parker took his time and made very smart plays”, said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney in regard to the quarterback’s efforts on the field Saturday.

Since Cullen Harper played against the Citadel in 2008, Parker was the first Clemson quarterback to rush for a touchdown and throw a scoring pass in a game. The rookie also capitalized on the quarterback keeper. He rushed seven times, totaling a career-high 31 yards in the win.

Senior receiver Jacoby Ford had one key catch for 51 yards, splitting Demon Deacon defensive backs, and setting up Parker’s rushing touchdown in the second.

Andre Ellington played a prominent backup role to Spiller in the running game. Ellington’s quick feet picked him up 34 rushing yards from only two carries.

Kicker Richard Jackson booted a 22-yard field goal in the first period, contributing to the balanced offensive effort for the Tigers.

Clemson scored a total of four touchdowns against Wake Forest in the first half. Three of the Tiger four were picked up in the second period. Spiller had one, Parker added one and running back Jamie Harper ran three yards for a late second quarter touchdown.

Spiller’s other breakaway touchdown was the only scoring action for either team in the second half.

Clemson trumped Wake Forest’s 81 rushing yards with a profound 182 yards, and picked up 16 first downs compared to Wake Forest’s 13.

“Overall, the offense played smart, without making many mistakes,” said Swinney. “The game ball goes to C.J. Spiller today. He gave 100 percent on every play, and he is the first ACC player to get over 6,000 all-purpose yards.”

Clemson’s defense also shut down any chance of a Demon Deacon comeback. The Tigers held the Wake Forest offense to a mere 178 total yards, while Clemson nearly tripled that with an outstanding 382 total offensive yards.

The Tigers did not allow any Demon Deacon touchdowns. This was the first time Wake Forest finished without a single touchdown since the 2008 matchup against Maryland.

“The defense was relentless today and dominated,” said Swinney. “They played smart and made tackles. I was proud of their effort.”

High expectations were in store for Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner, as he entered Death Valley leading the ACC in pass efficiency. Five sacks and two interceptions later, Skinner retreated from Death Valley with the rest of his defeated teammates.

DeAndre McDaniel had a 26-yard interception of a Skinner pass, setting up Jackson’s field goal. Tied for the national lead in interceptions, McDaniel boasts an incredible five interceptions in only six games. McDaniel also had five stops in the game.

Leading the Tigers in tackling was Kavell Conner with eight. Right behind Conner was reserve linebacker Johnathon Willard with seven.

As a team, the Tigers recorded their top output of tackles for loss this season with 12. Individually, defensive end Da’Quan Bowers had three tackles for loss, which tied his career high for a single game.

“I just think they played great,” said Wake Forest Head Coach Jim Grobe about the loss to Clemson. “They gave us some things that we didn’t handle well so I was impressed. I just think we got beat today.”

The revitalizing win was Clemson’s largest margin of victory over an ACC opponent since a 47-10 Duke matchup in 2007. The victory also marked Clemson’s largest margin of victory over Wake Forest since 2000.

“This was a great win for us today,” Swinney said. “We showed what we are capable of doing today. But we are still a 3-3 team. We have a long way to go.”

The Tigers face the eighth-ranked Miami Hurricanes this weekend in Coral Gables, Fla. The game will be televised on ABC starting at 3:30 p.m.

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