WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Riley Skinner hit D.J. Boldin on a 12-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference as No. 21 Wake Forest (4-1, 2-0 ACC) held on for a 12-7 victory over Clemson (3-3, 1-2 ACC) in front of 33,988 fans at BB&T Field.
The victory for Wake improved the Deacons to 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 1987. In that season, Wake Forest opened conference play with victories over NC State and North Carolina.
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe picked up his 50th win as head coach of the Deacons. Grobe’s record at Wake Forest currently stands at 50-40.
The game was dominated by both defenses as both teams struggled to find any rhythm on the offensive end. The Wake Forest defense was dominant early, holding Clemson without a first down until midway through the second quarter. The Tigers only gained 198 yards of total offense on 58 plays, while Wake Forest had 342 yards on 82 plays. Wake Forest held Clemson to only 21 yards on the ground on 23 attempts.
The Wake Forest defense was also very good on third downs, holding Clemson to 2-of-14 on third down attempts. The Deacons were successful on third down plays, converting 10 of 21 third-down attempts.
Skinner combined for 259 yards of total offense, including a career-high 73 yards rushing on a career-high tying 11 attempts. Skinner threw for 186 yards and one touchdown pass.
The 12 points scored by Wake Forest were the fewest points needed for a home victory since 1994 when the Deacons defeated Appalachian State 12-10.
With Wake Forest trailing 7-6, the Deacons went on a 15-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that would give them the lead for good. The Deacons converted three times on third down on the drive, including a 28-yard pass from Skinner to D.J. Boldin on 3rd-and-24 from the Wake Forest 8-yard line. The drive culminated on a 7-yard pass from Skinner to Boldin to give Wake a 12-7 lead with 5:28 remaining in the game. The touchdown for Boldin was the first of his career. Wake attempted a two-point conversion but Skinner’s pass was incomplete.