September 26, 1998
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Brian Kuklick threw for 251 yards and two second-half touchdowns as Wake Forest beat Clemson for the first time in five years, 29-19 on Saturday.
No current member of the Demon Deacons (2-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), including senior quarterback Kuklick, had ever beaten the Tigers (1-3, 0-2).
After fumbling three times in Clemson territory in the first half, Wake Forest looked like it would find a way a lose this one. But after Wake Forest linebacker Mark Makovec’s second interception, Kuklick faked a reverse and hit Marvin Chalmers with a 17-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Two series later, after Clemson’s Mal Lawyer fumbled away a first-down catch, Kuklick found Desmond Clark for a 56-yard scoring play and a 26-7 lead.
It was Kuklick’s second straight game with more than 250 yards passing and the 13th of his career. It also ended questions about his health since a sprained knee in preseason practice.
The Deacons were No. 22 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason rankings, but lost their opener 42-0 at Air Force. The next week, though, Kuklick completed 21 of 36 passes in a 26-14 victory against Navy.
Wake Forest’s week off apparently healed him nicely. He finished 14-of-24 for the Deacons, who last won at Clemson in 1993.
Clark had five catches for 110 yards and Morgan Kane gained 113 yards rushing, more than twice Clemson’s rushing total of 55.
The Tigers came within 10 points in the fourth quarter on Travis Zachery’s 14-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard scoring pass to Brian Wofford. But quarterback Brandon Streeter fumbled on Wake’s 13 with 3:53 to go.
Streeter threw for 316 yards, but had four interceptions and two of the Tigers’ three fumbles.
Makovec’s first interception in the opening period went for a 36-yard touchdown as Wake Forest took the lead for good, 10-7.
The loss gave the Tigers their worst start since 1985, and concluded one of the poorest Septembers for a program that used to rule the ACC. Two weeks ago, Clemson suffered their worst ever home loss, 37-0, to Virginia Tech. A late field goal gave Virginia a 20-18 win over Clemson last week.
Wake Forest was supposed to be the salve for the Tigers’ wounds.
But until the fourth quarter, the offense struggled to get past midfield. The Tigers ran for 31 yards in the first half and only had three first downs in the third period.
By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer
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