Scouting Wake Forest: how the Deacons win...

Don't turn it over, cash in on scoring chances, play better red-zone defense

Wake Forest's Mike Campanaro evades Clemson's Jonathan Willard as he returns a punt 50 yards for a touchdown.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Wake Forest's Mike Campanaro evades Clemson's Jonathan Willard as he returns a punt 50 yards for a touchdown.

How the Deacons win...

1. No self-inflicted damage: The Deacons will have their hands full with the Tigers, and they can't afford careless mistakes that tip the balance in Clemson's favor. Jim Grobe's squad has all the markings of a solid, well-coached team: they rank among the ACC's best in turnover margin, and they're the conference's second least penalized team.

2. Don't come away empty-handed: When they've ended up on the short end of the scoreboard in close games, the Deacons have looked back on squandered opportunities that have helped make the difference. After making just two of six field goal attempts in its first six games, the Deacons cashed in Saturday with three Chad Hedlund field goals against Virginia - which proved to be the difference in a 16-10 Wake Forest victory. For a team that ranks last in the ACC in third-down conversions (23 percent after a 1-of-15 showing against Virginia), every point counts.

3. Get some red-zone stops: Wake Forest's red zone defense hasn't been very good this season: just two stops in its first 28 chances, with 19 touchdowns allowed. That comes out to a 92.9 percent opponent success rate. If the Tigers score on nine of 10 opportunities, this one has a chance to get ugly in a hurry.

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