Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Their goal in the preseason was to become the first Wake Forest team since 1950-52 to have three straight winning seasons, and to be the first to go to three straight bowl games.
"We're almost there," linebacker Aaron Curry said. "... We've got our eyes on the prize. We're almost there."
The No. 21-ranked Demon Deacons took a major step in separating themselves from the rest of the Atlantic Division with their 12-7 win over Clemson on Thursday night, as Wake Forest is the only team in the division still unbeaten in league play.
"Of course it gives us an edge," receiver D.J. Boldin said. "Clemson was predicted to win the ACC at the beginning of the season. For us to come out and beat those guys, it was very major. We just put a big X on our chests. Clemson was projected to win, and every week somebody is losing, but right now this puts us in the driver's seat. It's going to make it harder for us week by week."
Wake Forest's defense has exceeded expectations, and for the second game this season (the other being Florida State) was a major factor in the game, particularly considering the team's inability to score touchdowns when inside the red zone. The Deacs got as close as the 5- and 2-yard lines and were unable to score, despite getting more out of their running game.
Wake Forest has back-to-back road tests at Maryland and Miami to finish the month, but those within the program know they're going to have to score more to maintain their lead in the league.
"It's good to be 2-0," quarterback Riley Skinner said. "It gives us a little bit of a cushion, but that cushion doesn't really mean anything. When you see every team beats everybody. We know that every game is going to be a challenge. Any team could turn it on and play lights out from here."