CLEMSON – It’s sunny, it’s chilly and it’s windy.
In other words, it’s football weather. Finally.
A sweatbox the last two times Memorial Stadium was open for business, Death Valley will be much more comfortable for the Homecoming crowd, which clogged traffic lanes around Clemson four hours before the No. 3-ranked Tigers kick off against visiting Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. televised by ESPNU.
Gameday temperatures are expected to hover in the low 70s, and slight gusts will prevail throughout the day.
So no matter what, it will be a breezy afternoon for the Tigers in weather-speak. They’re hoping to make it breezy on the scoreboard, as well.
Clemson (3-0, 1-0 ACC) is a four-touchdown favorite over Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1); only Oregon (vs. California) is favored by that margin today. The Demon Deacons are 7-35 on their visits to Clemson, and have not won here since 1998. The only two wins Wake Forest has garnered in Death Valley since 1962, it was coached by Jim Caldwell.
Clemson is working to put to rest the notion it stumbles against lesser opposition. The Tigers have won 11 straight games by double digits against unranked opponents; only Alabama (21) has a longer streak.
The final injury report is out, and the Tigers’ unavailable list is growing. Still missing from previous games are receiver Charone Peake (ACL), tailback Tyshon Dye (back), cornerback Mackensie Alexander (groin), defensive tackle Scott Pagano (ankle) and offensive lineman Spencer Region (hip.)
New injuries are linebacker Kellen Jones (ACL), right tackle Gifford Timothy (concussion), linebacker B.J. Goodson (concussion), and offensive lineman Patrick DeStefano (shoulder.)
Defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and receiver Dane Rogers are attending the funeral of their cousin, Dache Gossett, who died in a car accident in western North Carolina last Saturday. Watkins was in the car, but escaped serious injuries while spending a couple nights in an Asheville hospital.
Left tackle Isaiah Battle is suspended after punching a North Carolina State player in the fourth quarter of Clemson’s previous game.
Tajh Boyd is healthy and ready to go. He’s also in range of setting some more records and milestones as Clemson’s quarterback:
- Needs 409 yards to become the third ACC quarterback to reach 10,000 yards of total offense
- Needs 173 yards to become Clemson’s all-time total offense leader, which would surpass Charlie Whitehurst’s 9,763 yards
- Needs 145 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for his career
- Needs two touchdowns to become the second ACC quarterback to reach 100 touchdowns (rushing and passing combined)
- Needs 24 passes without an interception to break Clemson record of 165 consecutive non-INT throws set by Cullen Harper (2005-07)
In pregame announcements, left guard Kalon Davis, right tackle Shaq Anthony and wide receiver Mike WIlliams were announced as new starters. David Beasley is dressed but limited with an ankle injury; Timothy’s out with the concussion; and Martavis Bryant is being disciplined for a throat-slashing gesture after his first touchdown at N.C. State.
Running back Roderick McDowell, as previously announced, is wearing No. 19 in respect for Peake, lost for the year to an ACL tear. McDowell usually wears No. 25.
Be sure to check in at Postandcourier.com at halftime for a brief live chat with beat writer Aaron Brenner.