CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Kelvin Grant and Kyle Browning saved coach Tommy Bowden an awful lot of grief.
Grant outleaped a defender for a tying two-point conversion late in regulation and Browning caught an 11-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime, giving No. 16 Clemson a 37-30 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over pesky Wake Forest.
In the season opener for both teams, Clemson gained a measure of revenge for last year's stunning 45-17 loss at Wake Forest that had Tigers faithful calling for Bowden's job.
Clemson turned things around after that loss, winning its last four games, including victories over highly ranked Florida State and Tennessee. The Tigers turned things around in this one as well after Wake Forest scored 24 straight points to take an eight-point lead.
"They had our number," Bowden admitted. "They beat us by 30 last year and we won by seven. We are making progress. Wake Forest is a well-coached team. They have really given us problems."
Late in the fourth quarter, Clemson drove inside the 10-yard line. The march seemed to stall until a questionable interference call gave the Tigers a new set of downs.
Yusef Kelly went five yards for a touchdown and the 6-4 Grant soared over a defender to pull down Charlie Whitehurst's lob pass for the tying conversion.
"We had a mismatch against a smaller cornerback," Grant said. "I knew I had it when Charlie put it in the air."
"Kelvin makes plays like that every day in practice," Whitehurst said.
Both teams kicked field goals in the first overtime before Browning came out of the backfield, took a short pass from Whitehurst and scooted into the end zone. The defense stiffened and stopped the Demon Deacons to seal the win.
"We knew they were going to come with a lot of pressure on Charlie," Browning said. "Once I got past the line, I knew I was open."
Whitehurst completed 20-of-41 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Airese Currie caught nine passes for 152 yards and Chansi Stuckey had eight for 112 for Clemson, which improved to 4-0 all-time in overtime.
Chris Barclay rushed for 179 yards and a touchdown for Wake Forest, which has lost 26 straight road games against ranked foes.
The Deacons didn't lose this one without a fight, however. They trailed, 19-3, in the second quarter when Ben Mauk replaced Cory Randolph at quarterback and threw an 85-yard TD pass to Jason Anderson, who caught seven passes for 139 yards.
"We knew going in that we wanted to play Ben some," Deacons coach Jim Grobe said.
Cornelius Birgs added a three-yard TD run less than two minutes later, cutting the deficit to 19-17 at halftime.
Matt Wisnosky kicked a 43-yard field goal to give Wake the lead just before the end of the third quarter and Barclay rumbled 50 yards for a score with 12:20 to play in regulation.
"We sputtered there for a long time after a pretty good start," Whitehurst said.
Randolph was just 7-of-21 for 55 yards. Mauk was 3-of-4 for 101 yards.
"When we got down to crunch time there in the fourth quarter, we felt like it was time to play our experienced quarterback," Grobe said.