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Clemson secures ACC's Atlantic Division title on late FG

Nov 13, 2011 - 1:36 AM Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - Chandler Catanzaro missed a field goal with 1:18 remaining, but redeemed himself by making the game-winning field goal as time expired to give the ninth-ranked Clemson Tigers a 31-28 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Catanzaro's 43-yard field goal made the Tigers the ACC's Atlantic Division champions. Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) also secured a spot in the ACC Championship Game with the victory.

"That was the best kick of my career," Catanzaro said. "I was just so proud of myself for that."

Tajh Boyd completed 27-of-43 passes for 343 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Tigers, who bounced back from a 31-17 setback at Georgia Tech two weeks ago.

Andre Ellington carried the ball 25 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

Tanner Price completed 24-of-37 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown for the Demon Deacons (5-5, 4-3), who were seeking their first win in Death Valley since 1998.

Brandon Pendergrass carried the ball 20 times for 134 yards and two scores in defeat.

"I don't think we could have played any harder than we played today. We could have made a couple more plays, but I don't think we could have played any harder," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said.

Kicker Jimmy Newman had a chance to extend Wake Forest's margin to 10 with 8:45 to play in the game. His 32-yard try was no good.

The Tigers capitalized in a big way. DeAndre Hopkins caught an 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 for a fresh set of downs. Brandon Ford came up with a 20-yard catch later in the drive to put the ball at the 12. Jaron Brown capped the 10-play drive with a 10-yard TD catch to make it 28-28 with 5 1/2 minutes left.

After Wake Forest went three-and-out, Clemson marched the ball down the field, but Catanzaro missed a 30-yard field goal.

The Tigers held on defense again to give their offense one last shot. Clemson took over at its own 33 with 42 seconds to play. Adam Humphries caught a 40- yard pass on the third play of the drive to put the ball at the 26-yard line. After multiple timeouts with seven seconds left, Catanzaro made a 43-yard field goal to give the Tigers a perfect home record for the season.

Clemson put together a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive on its first possession of the game. Sammy Watkins and Brown kept the drive alive with a pair of key third-down catches. Watkins added a 23-yard run before Ellington rumbled into the end zone from four yards out.

Wake Forest promptly responded with a touchdown of its own. Faced with a 3rd- and-1 from the Clemson 23, Price rushed for two yards. Cameron Ford hauled in a three-yard TD pass a few plays later to end a 12-play drive.

Boyd was intercepted by Zach Thompson early in the second quarter, but the Demon Deacons went three-and-out on offense. The Tigers then put together a 13-play, 80-yard drive to take the lead back. Ellington used his legs on 4th- and-1 to give Clemson a fresh set of downs. Brandon Ford's 24-yard catch put the ball inside the five, which set up Ellington's one-yard TD run.

Wake Forest had a chance to make it a four-point game, but Newman missed a 47- yard field goal.

The Demon Deacons were faced with a 3rd-and-3 near midfield early in the third period. Clemson recorded an interception on the play, but it was nullified due to a defensive holding penalty. Wake Forest moved the ball to the five, but Price was stopped short of a first down on 4th-and-1.

After forcing the Tigers to punt, Michael Campanaro returned a punt 50 yards down the right sideline to make it 14-14.

Ellington fumbled the ball on the second play of the Tigers' next drive. Pendergrass capitalized for Wake Forest with a 19-yard TD run.

Wake Forest's defense came up with another big turnover. Boyd was intercepted by Josh Bush this time around. Pendergrass' 33-yard TD run gave the Demon Deacons a 28-14 lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.

Clemson's offense came back to life near the end of the third. Watkins and Brown made big catches during the 10-play march that Brandon Ford capped with a seven-yard TD catch along the sideline.

Faced with a 4th-and-1 from the their own 33 early in the fourth, the Tigers tried a QB sneak. Boyd was stuffed at the line and the Demon Deacons took over.

But Newman missed a 32-yard field goal for Wake Forest.

Game Notes

Clemson holds a huge advantage in the all-time series with Wake Forest. The Tigers are now 59-17-1, having won the last three meetings and eight of the last 11 overall...The Tigers went 7-0 at home this season, marking their first perfect home season since 1990...Brown caught six passes for 78 yards.