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No. 1 Clemson defeats Wake Forest in season opener

Trevor Lawrence threw for 351 yards and combined for three touchdowns for the Tigers. Wake Forest is back in action Saturday at NC State.
Credit: WFMY News 2 Sports

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. - The Wake Forest football team dropped its season opener to top-ranked Clemson at Truist Field on Saturday.

Preseason All-American Carlos "Boogie" Basham Jr. continued to be one of the most disruptive forces in the country. On the first series of the game, Basham sacked Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence for 16 yards. The third-down sack forced the Tigers to go three and out.

Despite the aforementioned sack and some early offensive success between Sam Hartman and Donavon Greene, the Tigers took the early lead with back-to-back scoring drives to end the first quarter. They would go on to have three more scoring drives before the end of the half, taking a 27-0 lead into the interval.

The second half opened with a deep pass from Hartman to Jaquarii Roberson for 55 yards and a field goal from Nick Sciba to get the Deacs on the board. Clemson took over with three scoring drives in the third quarter.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, Mitch Griffis connected with Taylor Morin for a touchdown. It was the first career for both players. 

Morin ended the game with a team-high nine receptions and a team-high 93 yards. The final score on Saturday evening at Truist Field was 37-13. 

How It Happened:

•    The Tigers went three and out on the first drive of the game with a sack from Boogie Basham.

•    Clemson took an early jump, scoring on their next two drives to make it 14-0 going into the second quarter.

•    Sam Hartman and Donovan Greene connected for two passes for 67 yards in the first quarter but both drives were cut short.

•    Three more scoring drives in the second quarter put the Tigers up 27-0 at the half.

•    Wake Forest opened the second half on a high note with a 55-yard completion from Hartman to Jaquarii Roberson.

•    Nick Sciba put the first points on the board for the Deacs with a 39-yard field goal in the third quarter.

•    Two third quarter scores expanded the Clemson lead 37-3 going into the fourth quarter.

•    Mitch Griffis and Taylor Morin each recorded their first career touchdown in the fourth quarter

•    The Deacs ended up going down to the Tigers 37-13 in the season opener.

In the Spotlight:

•    Boogie Basham extended his streak of consecutive games with a tackle for loss to 19 on the first series of the game. This is the longest streak in FBS by six games. 

o    That aforementioned play was a sack, which brings him to 16.5 for his career. He currently sits two behind Nikita Whitlock (2010-13) for fifth in program history.

Staggering Statistics:

•    First turnover of the game came in the fourth quarter by Clemson when AJ Williams recorded his first career interception.

•    Ivan Mora had a career-long punt for 59 yards in the second quarter.

•    Luke Masterson recorded a career-high 11 tackles. The last time Masterson faced Clemson in 2018, he led the team with eight tackles.

From Coach Clawson:

•    "First off, I just want to start out and give credit to Clemson. They're an excellent football program, and they came out strong like they always do, and played better than us tonight and won the game. Their quarterback and tailback are both special players. We are disappointed with the result, but I think there's a lot of positives to build on. I think Donovan Greene is showing that he can be an elite receiver in this league at some point, we had very few penalties, we didn't turn the ball over on offense, we just had some missed opportunities. We had a lot of good young players play a lot of football for the first time. Again, not happy with the result, but I thought our players competed. I thought we played hard for 60 minutes. We came out of this healthy, we're going to get some guys back that we didn't have with injuries or COVID related that, if our guys can continue to do the right things, hopefully we can be close to full strength next week as we try to start defending our Big 4 Championship on the road against NC State." 

Up Next:

The Deacs take on NC State in Raleigh on Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network.