CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant threw for 200 yards and a touchdown before leaving with an ankle injury as the second-ranked Tigers defeated Wake Forest 28-14 on Saturday to move to 6-0 for a straight season.
There was no immediate word on the severity of Bryant’s injury. He left the game in the third quarter after Travis Etienne’s 1-yard touchdown run put Clemson ahead 21-0. Trainers looked at Bryant’s ankle and took him into the sideline medical tent. Bryant tested his legs with a few short jogs once he came out and remained on the sidelines with teammates. Bryant did not reenter the game as Clemson (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat the Demon Deacons (4-2, 1-2) for a ninth straight time.
Bryant’s 28-yard scoring pass to Deon Cain got the Tigers started. Etienne, a freshman, had 67 yards rushing along with his touchdown. Adam Choice added a rushing TD and Cannon Smith added a 13-yard touchdown catch from third-string passer Hunter Johnson.
Clemson’s defense continued to show why it’s among the country’s best. The Tigers held Wake Forest scoreless the 51 minutes until Scotty Washington’s 16-yard touchdown catch spoiled the shutout. Clemson has held opponents scoreless in 15 of 24 quarters this season.
Wake Forest fell to 0-22 against opponents who entered 5-0 or better.
Clemson looked like it might crush the Demon Deacons its first two drives went for quick and easy touchdowns in the game’s opening nine minutes. The Tigers, though, managed only 134 yards the rest of the half. No matter, as Clemson’s defense did what it usually does and kept the Demon Deacons in check.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are certainly improved, but not yet ready to take down the Tigers. Wake Forest failed on several key chances to make things closer as normally reliable Mike Weaver (he opened the season 10-of-10 on field goals) missed two against the Tigers.
Clemson: The Tigers’ offense has been tailored to Bryant’s penchant to run and its strong quartet of running backs. If Bryant’s injury is significant, Clemson might have to open things up with strong armed backups Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson.
Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford did not play because of a left shoulder injury. Sophomore Kendall Hinton opened the game for the Demon Deacons. Hinton started three games previous in his college career.