Clemson’s new weapon at WR carries No. 21 Tigers to 34-20 victory over Wake Forest

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Clemson quarterbacks have had the luxury of throwing passes to Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and Martavis Bryant in recent years. Freshman Artavis Scott is the program’s new emerging star.

Scott proved to be the deciding factor Thursday night with eight catches for 122 yards and a pair of touchdown receptions as the No. 21 Clemson Tigers claimed a 34-20 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The second touchdown was pivotal with the game tied 20-20 in the fourth quarter.

The freshman pulled a Watkins by scoring a long touchdown on a fly sweep. After Wake Forest kicker Mike Weaver converted a 31-yard field goal, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris decided to get the ball into the hands of the team’s top play-maker. Scott raced around the Tigers’ right tackle on his way to a 66-yard touchdown romp.

It was the knockout blow for a Clemson squad that allowed a struggling Wake Forest program to hang around for far too long.

Scott wasn’t the only freshman to come up big in the game. Running back Wayne Gallman carried the ball 19 times for 106 yards and a touchdown. Gallman also got the offense on track in the second quarterback with a beautifully timed screen pass for 18 yards that resulted in the Tigers’ first touchdown.

The Tigers will have to continue to lean on these talented underclassmen since senior quarterback Cole Stoudt continues to be inconsistent.

Despite the two-score victory, some still weren’t impressed with the effort.

After all, Wake Forest entered the game with college football’s worst offense. Clemson’s talented defense was continually placed in poor situations, and the unit allowed the Demon Deacons to score multiple times despite only managing 122 total yards.

A win is still a win, and Clemson remains one game behind the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Atlantic. It’s a crucial to be the ACC’s No. 2 team to potentially earn a New Year’s bowl berth with Florida State expected to make the first College Football Playoff. That spot could belong to Clemson if the Tigers continue to find ways to win.

No. 21 Clemson Tigers struggle in first half against hapless Demon Deacons

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If the uniforms were stripped of the two teams playing Thursday night, no one would know which one of them was ranked in the Top 25.

Despite owning college football’s worst offense, the 2-6 Wake Forest Demon Deacons are tied 17-17 with the No. 21 Clemson Tigers at halftime.

Both teams benefited from special teams miscues, but it was the play of Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson that stood out.

Johnson’s interception in the first quarter set up the the Demon Deacons’ initial touchdown. Later in the second quarter, the senior defensive back recovered a muffed punt that led to Wake Forest’s second touchdown of the first half.

This is a program that only averages 14.8 points per game. Statistically, Wake Forest is the worst offense in college football. Yet, they’re tied with a nationally-ranked program.

Despite having a lead, Clemson has to be concerned. It took a late touchdown pass from Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt to freshman Artavis Scott to clinch the Tigers’ first lead of the contest.

The Demon Deacons only have 79 yards of total offense. But their play-calling has been aggressive on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t until Stoudt found running back Wayne Gallman on a screen pass to counter Wake Forest’s blitzes that Clemson finally found the end zone.

Clemson couldn’t move the ball in the first quarter.

But Stoudt and the offense started to gain their footing in the second half with 129 yards. The Tigers are clearly the more talented team. If the defense continues to rattle Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford, then Wake Forest shouldn’t be able to score another point. Meanwhile, Clemson’s offense looks to be getting on track.

Dave Clawson‘s coaching staff can’t hold back with its play-calling in the second half if they plan to muster the biggest win of their season. It may be an uphill battle, but the Demon Deacons are in position to surprise the Tigers if they make a couple plays late in the game.

Jim Grobe regrets passing on Nebraska, still wants to coach

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Jim Grobe was once the hottest name in college football coaching circles after the 2006 season. Grobe just led the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to an improbable Orange Bowl berth. Multiple teams were interested in Grobe’s services. The Nebraska Cornuskers were the most notable suitor. Instead of pursuing the possibility of coaching for one of the country’s most prestigious programs, Grobe decided he wanted to continue at Wake Forest.

It’s a decision Grobe regrets today.

“I do now, I didn’t at the time,” Grobe told CBSSports.com’s Jon Solomon. “I honestly took great pride in Wake Forest. I had some really good friends there. I trusted some people there. I thought Wake was a little different than other schools. I really, at the time, felt we were going to get a bigger commitment in terms of facilities and support for the program that never really materialized. We loved all 13 years we were in Winston-Salem, but I’m not real happy with the way things ended.”

Grobe resigned from Wake Forest last year after the team finished below .500 for the fifth-straight season.

The coach’s success in 2006 eventually led to his demise seven years later. Wake Forest was in the national spotlight for a short period of time. The Demon Deacons had caught the attention of talented recruits, and the program pursued them. Yet, Grobe overlooked some of the things that made him successful to that point. Grobe was known for redshirting every recruit in order to develop them over a five-year period.

“We kind of got away from that dynamic and started recruiting a little bit better player who probably doesn’t have a good enough love for the game,” Grobe said. “Quite frankly, I ended up spending a lot of time last year with five knotheads who were always missing class, missing study hall, missing tutoring, late to meetings, late to practices, and ultimately I just wouldn’t play them. They were very talented kids who could have helped us win games. There’s no question I could have done a better job.”

At 62 years of age, Grobe has learned from his mistakes and still has the fire to coach at the collegiate level.

“It’s funny to be here talking football, but I don’t feel that same electricity,” Grobe said. “It’s a good thing — right now.”

There will undoubtedly be a handful of openings at programs with coaches already on the hot seat. And Grobe will be ready to take over at one of those spots.

Fresh take: Wake Forest names true freshman as starting QB

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The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are going with a completely fresh start in 2014. After 13 seasons with the program, head coach Jim Grobe resigned from his position in December. Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson was hired to replace Grobe. And Clawson has now decided to start a freshman quarterback during the upcoming season, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

John Wolford is going to be our starting quarterback,’’ Clawson said. “We made that decision (Monday) after watching the tape of (Sunday’s) scrimmage.

“Not just last night in the scrimmage, but consistently through camp he has executed the offense at the highest level. And I think he gives us our best opportunity to win football games.’’

Wolford was considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, who chose the Demon Deacons over the East Carolina Pirates, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Penn State Nittany Lions.

Clawson’s decision to start Wolford is in complete contrast to the approach Grobe took with the program. Grobe was known for building the program by placing a redshirt on all incoming freshmen and developing their talent over time.

“We will try and redshirt players but if a freshman gives us the best chance to win, we’re going to play him,” Clawson told ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson. “It’s not fair to the juniors and the seniors in the program to make a decision based on what’s best five years from now. He gives us the best chance to win so we will now prepare him as our starting quarterback.”

Wolford was given the nod in the quarterback competition, because he’s a better fit in Clawson’s spread offense than sophomore Tyler Cameron and junior Kevin Sousa.

(Photo courtesy of Rivals.com)