ACC Football: Clemson 38, Wake Forest 3
By Pete Iacobelli
CLEMSON, S.C. ó Clemson coach Dabo Swinney angrily watched his quarterback pitch the ball on an option look at practice last week, and let Kyle Parker know it.
That touched off a heated exchange between Swinney and offensive coordinator Billy Napier, a blog report claiming dissension between the coach and his 30-year-old assistant, and two weeks of questions about Clemson’s direction after a loss at Maryland.
So when Parker kept the ball for a 3-yard touchdown on the same play against Wake Forest in Clemson’s 38-3 victory, the freshman hurried to Swinney on the sidelines and asked, “How do you like that, Coach?”
Swinney likes it just fine.
C.J. Spiller scored on runs of 66 and 14 yards, Parker added a touchdown pass to go with his leaping run and the Tigers (3-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) turned turmoil into triumph as they got back into the ACC’s Atlantic Division race on Saturday.
Parker and the Tigers showed their resiliency against Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2) with their best performance of the season.
“The biggest thing about us is we didn’t give up,” Parker said. “We knew that we had a lot of football left to play. We kind of blocked everything out and went back to work.”
Spiller finished with 106 yards for his 10th career 100-yard game. Clemson’s defense sacked ACC pass-efficiency leader Riley Skinner five times to knock the Demon Deacons back into the muddled pack of the ACC’s crazy, unpredictable Atlantic Division.
“That’s the way we should’ve been playing all year,” Spiller said.
Things went Clemson’s way from the start.
Wake Forest opened with a way short kickoff ó Spiller has two such return TDs this year ó that had Clemson starting on the Demon Deacons’ 46. Parker took advantage, going 4-of-4 on Clemson’s first drive and finishing with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Palmer.