CLEMSON – Minutes after missing a 30-yard field goal, Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro connected on a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give Clemson a come-from-behind, 31-28, victory against Wake Forest on Saturday.
With the win, No. 9 Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) clinches its second Atlantic Division championship in three years and will play in the ACC title game in Charlotte on Dec. 3. Clemson completed its first perfect home record (7-0) since 1990.
Clemson allowed a season-high 21 points to Wake in the third quarter, set up by two third-quarter offensive turnovers, and trailed Wake 28-14 late in the third quarter.
Clemson overcame the loss of receiver Sammy Watkins, who did not return to the game after suffering a “an upper-body” injury in the third quarter. Clemson overcame offensive line struggles as the Tigers failed to move an undersized Wake front. And Clemson overcame another slow start from quarterback Tajh Boyd, who was uncharacteristically off the mark for much of the game before putting leading three scoring drives in the game’s final 20 minutes.
Clemson cut the Wake lead to 28-21 after Boyd hit Brandon Ford with a 7-yard scoring pass, and Clemson tied the score at 28 when Boyd found Jaron Brown in the middle of the end zone for a 10-yard score with three minutes remaining.
After a Wake three-and-out, Clemson drove into field goal range but Catanzaro missed a 30-yard field goal with 1:30 remaining. The Clemson defensive held up again, forcing a punt and Boyd hit Dwayne Allen twice to set up the game-winning field goal.
Boyd finished with 343 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wake running back Brandon Pendergass rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the third quarter.
Clemson totaled 522 yards of offense on 86 plays.