WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -
and Wake Forest have played two ACC games and managed just one touchdown. It came just in time to help the
beat another Bowden.
Skinner threw a 7-yard scoring pass to D.J. Boldin with 5:28 left to lead No. 21 Wake Forest past Clemson 12-7 on Thursday
He completed 22 of 34 passes for 186 yards, added 74 more yards rushing and led the decisive 15-play, 78-yard drive in the
fourth quarter for the
The only Atlantic Division team with a perfect conference record won its first two league games for the first time since 1987,
but had to go through the ACC's first family to do it. After topping Bobby Bowden's Florida State team on four field goals,
they took out son Tommy's Tigers with a dominant defense and some opportunistic play from the quarterback coming off a five-turnover
performance against Navy.
''It's just a testament to our defense. The thing is, though, once you look at our yards - we're moving the ball,'' Skinner
said. ''It's not like we can't move the ball at all. We're just driving and shooting ourselves in the foot when it gets inside
the red zone. ... It's not like our plays are bad. We're just not capitalizing.''
- starting in place of injured kicker
- had field goals of 22 and 32 yards for Wake Forest, and a dominant defense held the Tigers' vaunted ground game to 21 yards
rushing on 23 carries. The
outgained Clemson 342-198 to snap a two-game losing streak in the series.
''This is a game that, me personally, I've wanted for a long time,'' Skinner said.
was 15-of-35 for 177 yards with an interception for Clemson (3-3, 1-2). The league's preseason favorites lost their second
straight and are one of three ACC teams with multiple conference losses.
''Our backs are against the wall right now big time,'' Harper said. ''There's either two things we can do - we can either
quit and lay down, or we can come out swinging (next week) against Georgia Tech.''
Harper's 10-yard touchdown pass to
with 7 seconds left in the third quarter put Clemson up 7-3.
's school-record-tying 17th career interception gave Wake Forest the ball inside the Clemson 20 and set up Popham's second
field goal, which pulled Wake Forest to 7-6 with just under 13 minutes to play.
Then, after forcing a punt, it was time for Skinner to rally the
Taking over with about 10 1/2 minutes left, he systematically marched Wake Forest downfield by completing seven of nine passes
for 69 yards and converting three third downs - including a 28-yard pass to Boldin on third-and-24.
''We got our
back tonight,'' coach Jim Grobe said.
He then found Boldin in the right flat, and the receiver cut back through two defenders and into the end zone for his first
career touchdown. Skinner's 2-point conversion pass for
was batted away.
On its last possession, Clemson got no farther than its own 39, and linebacker
broke up Harper's fourth-and-20 pass with about 3 1/2 minutes left to seal Grobe's third win over the Tigers in eight tries.
''They just generated that one drive,'' Bowden said. ''We kept hoping we could generate one drive to win the game. Wake Forest
did it. We didn't.''
Instead, the Tigers' offense sputtered once again. They had minus-6 yards rushing at halftime, were stuck in negative total
yardage until their fifth drive of the game and were just 2-of-14 on third downs.
finished with 25 yards, 50 below his average, while backfield mate C.J. Spiller had just 10 yards on two carries before injuring
his left leg in the second quarter. Those two struggled in the Tigers' other losses, combining for 20 yards in the opening
loss to Alabama and gaining a total 31 yards in the second half of the Maryland defeat.
''That's like holding the Patriots,'' Smith said.
With the ground game struggling, Clemson's offense couldn't generate any big plays until the final moments of the third quarter,
with Harper taking advantage of a pass-interference penalty on
to convert his first third down.
Then, he temporarily putting the Tigers ahead by finding Ford over the middle. The track star juggled the ball before pulling
it in as he crossed the goal line for their only score.
This one probably should have been even more lopsided for Wake Forest.
had plenty of early chances to take a comfortable lead, driving inside the Clemson 5 on its first two possessions and then
moving to the 22 on its final full series of the second quarter, but couldn't punch it in.
had trouble with the hold on Popham's 25-yard field goal, and Popham was badly wide right on a 39-yard attempt 1:48 before
''You wonder if you'll ever get a chance to make that up,'' Grobe said. ''Offensively, we just did enough to get the job done.''