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Demon Deacons Fall to Clemson in Double Overtime, 51-45.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest University’s fourth sellout crowd (32,903) in its last five games inside Truist Field witnessed a double-overtime classic between No. 16 Wake Forest and No. 5 Clemson. In front of a national television audience on ABC, the Demon Deacons battled the Tigers to the wire and eventually fell in double overtime, 51-45. 

Wake Forest amassed 447 yards on offense and redshirt junior quarterback Sam Hartman tossed a Demon Deacons record six touchdowns. The six touchdown passes marked the most against the Clemson Tigers since current Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields threw six of his own on Jan. 1, 2021 in the Sugar Bowl. Additionally on Saturday, the Charlotte native finished 20-of-29 passing for 337 yards to go along with the half-dozen scores.  

Sophomore wideout Jahmal Banks caught a pair of touchdown passes for the second-straight game and redshirt sophomore Donavon Greene reeled in his first touchdown pass since Nov. 14, 2020 against North Carolina. Also with his eight-yard touchdown catch in the first overtime, redshirt junior wide receiver A.T. Perry tallied his 19th-career scoring grab which ties him for seventh in program history and gives him sole possession of first place among wideouts in the Dave Clawson era.

Overall this season, Wake Forest’s offense has been unstoppable and has now set a new scoring record with 171 points through four games. The 45 points that the Deacs tallied on Saturday marked their highest total against the Tigers since Nov. 1, 2003 (45 points) and the most points Clemson has allowed since Nov. 7, 2020 at Notre Dame.

Defensively, captains Ryan Smenda, Jr. and Chase Jones each recorded a game-high nine tackles, respectively. The Demon Deacons defense totaled six tackles-for-loss, six pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. 

The Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN will announce Wake Forest’s kickoff time for its game at Florida State next week on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Fans are encouraged to stay tuned to GoDeacs.com and social media for an official announcement. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Clemson won the toss and elected to kickoff. On the game’s opening drive, Wake Forest converted a pair of first downs, but were forced to punt and pinned the Tigers back on their own 12-yard line. 
  • Clemson scored on its first possession, highlighted by a 53-yard run by Will Shipley. The drive totaled 8 plays and 88 yards over 4:08 of game time. 
  • With 8:09 left in the first quarter, the Demon Deacons took over on their own 25-yard line. 
    • On its second possession, Wake Forest went three-and-out despite a nine-yard reception from redshirt junior WR A.T. Perry
  • Clemson added to its lead (14-0) on the ensuing possession with a 41-yard touchdown pass with 5:09 remaining in the first. 
  • Wake Forest responded, cutting into Clemson’s lead (14-7) as Sam Hartman lofted a perfect pass to Jahmal Banks for a 36-yard touchdown through the air with 4:13 left in the first. 
    • A defensive pass interference penalty on Clemson pushed the ball to Wake Forest’s 40-yardline on the opening play of the drive. 
    • Another inference call on 3rd and 1 pushed the Deacs into Clemson territory. 
  • The Demon Deacon defense forced Clemson’s first punt of the game on the next drive as JJ Roberts broke up a pass on 3rd and 11. 
    • Wake Forest took over on offense with 2 minutes left at their own 30 after a 36-yard punt. 
  • The Deacs made another stop on defense, forcing Clemson to punt for the second-straight drive. 
    • Jacorey Johns forced an overthrow on 3rd and 1, picking up a quarterback hurry.  
    • On the last play of the first quarter, defensive lineman Kobie Turner forced a fumble, but Clemson was able to recover and maintain possession. 
  • A 24-yard field goal extended Clemson’s lead (17-7) to 10 with 7:49 left in the first half. 
    • Wake Forest’s defense came up big in the red zone, highlighted by Turner tallying tackles on three-consecutive plays. On 3rd and 9, Turner pushed Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei out of bounds to force the field goal attempt.  
  • Wake Forest made it a one-possession game (17-14) with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped off by another Hartman to Banks pitch and catch for a touchdown. 
    • Hartman found Banks deep for 30 yards on the play right before the 5-yard touchdown completion. 
  • Clemson connected on a 38-yard field goal following a 15-play, 51-yard drive to increase their lead to 20-14 with 14 seconds left in the first half. 
  • Wake Forest’s defense forced Clemson’s third punt of the game to open the second half. 
  • The Demon Deacons took hold of their first lead (21-20) of the game as Hartman tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Greene with 12:13 left in the third quarter. 
    • Dating back to last season’s Gator Bowl victory, Hartman has thrown at least three touchdowns in fourth-straight games. 
  • Wake Forest’s defense continued to come up big, forcing a three-and-out to give the Deacs the ball back with 10:39 left in the quarter. 
  • The Demon Demons added to its lead as Hartman connected with Blake Whiteheart on a 19-yard pass in the endzone following a 7-play, 70-yard drive that lasted 2:52 minutes. 
    • Overall, Hartman completed four passes for 65 yards on the drive. 
  • Clemson responded with a touchdown pass of their own before tying the game at 28 with a successful two-point conversion with 4:29 remaining in the third. 
  • Wake Forest regained the lead (35-28) as Hartman tossed his fifth touchdown pass of the game to Greene with a little over one minute remaining in the period. 
    • This tied Hartman’s career high in passing touchdowns as well as Greene’s career high in touchdown receptions. 
    • This marked the third-straight drive Wake Forest found the endzone. 
  • Clemson once again tied the game (35-35) with 11:16 left in regulation with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown rush. 
  • Wake Forest regained the lead following a 29-yard field goal by Matthew Dennis with just over eight minutes remaining. 
    • A 46-yard pass from Hartman to Banks pushed the ball deep into Clemson territory. 
  • Four minutes later after a drive got the ball just over midfield, Clemson once again tied the game at 38-38 with a 52-yard field goal.
  • Getting the ball back with 4:01 on the clock, Justice Ellison helped the Demon Deacons get the ball to near midfield.
    • On third down, Hartman completed a 12-yard pass to Whiteheart, setting up 4th-and-5.
      • The Deacs elected to punt and essentially send the game to overtime.
  • In overtime, the Demon Deacons got the ball first and after Ellison set up Wake Forest on a number of runs to the goal line, Hartman found a wide open A.T. Perry in the middle of the endzone from eight yards out.
    • This marked Hartman’s sixth touchdown pass of the game, breaking the school record he previously held with three other Wake Forest quarterbacks.
    • After a strong first two downs from the Demon Deacon defense, Clemson found a touchdown on third down to tie the game again at 45-45.
  • Starting with the ball in the second overtime, the Tigers again converted a touchdown on a third down. The ensuing two-point conversion failed and Clemson took a 51-45 lead. It was Clemson’s first lead since early in the third quarter.
  • After two plays, Wake Forest faced 3rd-and-10 when Hartman ran for four yards to set up 4th-and-6 from the Clemson 21-yard line.
    • A pass to the endzone intended for Perry was broken up as the Deacs fell, 51-45.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Following his record-breaking performance through the air on Saturday, redshirt junior quarterback Sam Hartman became the first quarterback in Wake Forest history to throw for at least three touchdown passes in four-straight games multiple times.

His six touchdown passes on Saturday reset a school record of his own.

Sam Hartman broke the Wake Forest all-time passing mark last week against Liberty, eclipsing Riley Skinner (2006-09) with a five-yard pass to Ke’Shawn Williams in the third quarter. With 337 yards today against Clemson, he has now thrown for 10,228 career passing yards. 

Hartman already holds the program record with 85 career touchdown passes, which he added to with six passing scores on Saturday. With that, Hartman currently sits in 6th in ACC history in this category.

STAGGERING STATISTICS
Wake Forest University announced a sellout for Saturday’s game in the highest-ranked matchup to ever be played inside Truist Field with No. 5 Clemson and No. 21 Wake Forest, according to the AP Poll. With 32,903 people in attendance, this marked Wake Forest’s fourth sell out in its last five home games. 

Additionally, Saturday’s sellout marked Wake Forest’s second-straight sellout in the month of September. Meanwhile, last week vs. Liberty and today’s game against Clemson mark the first two sellouts inside Truist Field in the month of Sept. since 2006. 

Overall, today was just the fourth sellout in the month of September this century. 

Truist Field hosted an Opening Night record 3,752 students for the VMI game on Sept. 1, Saturday’s attendance vs. No. 5 Clemson surpassed that total with 4,216 students in attendance. 

FROM COACH CLAWSON
“It was just a great college football game. It was two really good teams going back and forth. Certainly, I want to give credit to Clemson, Dabo (Swinney) and his staff. His team was well prepared and they did a great job. I am also proud of our team. We battled and competed. Sometimes two good teams go at it and one team maybe makes one more play than the other team. That’s what today came down to. It was a great atmosphere, sold out. I really want to thank our students for how well they showed out and all of our fans over 32,000 people. It was just a great back and forth football game. We got off to a slow start. And then the second quarter. We got some confidence on offense. Then in the third quarter and fourth quarter, we really got into a rhythm. They did too. Today neither team could really defend the deep ball. That’s what it came down to at the end. They hit that one down the middle. We had the ball tipped and we missed a shot at the end. So again, it was a one-play game. They made that one more play than us. So, the locker room right now is hurting. That’s a football team that has invested a lot and they care a lot and expected to win this game. But again, there’s a lot of football left and you’re not going to win the league with one game. You’re not going to lose it with the game. Obviously, it’s a league loss and they’re one up on us, but there’s a lot of football left and again. We have a pretty good football team and we’ll be back.”

UP NEXT
The Deacs next return to Truist Field on Oct. 8 vs. Army. 

Meanwhile, a week from today, Wake Forest will play at Florida State in Tallahassee. Stay tuned to GoDeacs.com and social media for official kickoff time and more information about the game on Saturday, Sept. 1.

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