CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -C.J. Spiller ran for two touchdowns and Clemson put aside two weeks of turmoil to get back in the ACC’s Atlantic Division race with a 38-3 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Spiller had scoring runs of 66 and 14 yards for the Tigers (3-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who seemed ready to implode after an unexpected 24-21 loss to Maryland on Oct. 3.
The team held a players only meeting when it returned to campus and an anonymous blog report during the bye week detailed a shouting match at practice between coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Billy Napier.
Against Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2), though, Clemson showed its resiliency with its best performance of the season.
Freshman quarterback Kyle Parker threw for a score and ran for another. Spiller finished with 106 yards for his 10th career 100-yard game and Clemson’s defense sacked ACC pass-efficiency leader Riley Skinner five times.
The Demon Deacons came in the Atlantic Division leader and could’ve opened up a two-game lead on Clemson. Instead, the six-team group took another crazy turn and kept almost everyone in the race for the league’s title game.
Swinney celebrated the year anniversary of taking over the Tigers this week, yet sounded a lot like his old boss, Tommy Bowden, much of the season with his belief the team was a play or two from big success.
That didn’t sit well with many Clemson fans, who criticized Swinney and Napier on sports talk radio and Internet message boards. The flashpoint came this week with word of Swinney and Napier’s heated exchange.
Both coaches said the incident was overblown, although Swinney did say he intended to “get a piece” of several assistants and players after the team’s 2-3 start.
Any controversy was drowned out by Saturday’s cheers at Death Valley for Clemson’s eighth victory over Wake Forest in the past 11 meetings.