CFN Take: Wake Forest Stuns VT In 2 Overtimes
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2014 ....
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
2014 Wake Forest
Nov. 22 at Wake Forest 6, Virginia Tech 3 2OT
2014 Schedule |
Aug. 28 at ULM L
Sep. 6 Gardner-Webb W 23-7
Sep. 13 at Utah State L 36-24
Sep. 20 Army W 24-21
Sep. 27 at Louisville L 21-10
Oct. 4 at Florida State L 43-3
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 18 Syracuse L 30-7
Oct. 25 Boston College L 23-17
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 6 Clemson L 34-20
Nov. 15 at NC State L 42-13
Nov. 22 Virginia Tech
W 6-3 2OT
Nov. 29 at Duke
And You Care Because … In a miserable offensive game, the two teams went into overtime in a scoreless tie helped by three missed field goals from Wake Forest’s Mike Weaver, but he made up for it with a 49-yarder in the first overtime and a 39-yarder in the second to come up with the win. Virginia Tech tied it in the first overtime on a 28-yard Joey Slye field goal, but following a sack, he missed in the second overtime.
What Else? Total yards: Virginia Tech 254 – Wake Forest 234
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 15-of-28 passes for 126 yards and a pick
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 18-of-32 passes for 160 yards and an interception
- Time of possession: Wake Forest 33:34 – Virginia Tech 26:26
Game Rating: C+
Nov. 15 at NC State 42, Wake Forest 13
And You Care Because … Matt Dayes ran for a one-yard score and caught a seven-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, and ran for a two-yard score in the third as NC State rolled easily over the punchless Demon Deacons. Bryan Underwood added a 75-yard touchdown run in the first play of the second half, and Shadrach Thornton added a one-yard touchdown run for a 42-6 lead – Wake Forest could only manage two Mike Weaver field goals. The Demon Deacons finally got into the end zone on a four–yard Isaiah Robinson run in the fourth.
What Else? Rushing yards: NC State 445 – Wake Forest 219
- NC State RB Shadrach Thornton ran 16 times for 110 yards and a score
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 15-of-32 passes for 161 yards
- NC State RB Matt Dayes ran 11 times for 66 yards and a score and caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: D
Nov. 6 Clemson 34, at Wake Forest 20
And You Care Because … Clemson was in a tight battle in the fourth quarter only up 20-17 when Artavis Scott took a pass 68 yards for a touchdown, and Wayne Gallman ran for a 30-yard score to finally put the game away. Scott also scored on a four-yard play in the second quarter and Gallman scored on an 18-yard pass play, but the Demon Deacons were helped by two takeaways with John Wolford throwing two first half touchdown passes. However, Wake Forest could only manage a 50-yard Mike Weaver field goal late in the first half and a 31-yarder in the fourth after Cam Serigne gave the team a 14-10 lead on a 14-yard pass play late in the second.
What Else? Clemson WR Artavis Scott caught eight passes for 122 yards and two scores
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 11-of-29 passes for 88 yards and two scores
- Total yards: Clemson 427 – Wake Forest 119
- Clemson RB Wayne Gallman ran 19 times for 106 yards and a score
Game Rating: C+
Oct. 25 Boston College 23, at Wake Forest 17
And You Care Because … Boston College got up 17-0 in the first half on a 30-yard Alex Howell field goal and two Jon Hilliman touchdown runs, and was up 23-3 in the fourth on a 37-yard Shakim Phillips catch, but Wake Forest made it interesting late with short touchdown runs from E.J. Scott and Isaiah Robinson. The Demon Deacons had one last shot, but John Wolford was picked off by Justin Simmons around midfield.
What Else? Boston College RB Jon Hilliman ran 20 times for 101 yards and two scores
- Wake Forest ran 33 times for 19 yards
- Boston College QB Tyler Murphy completed 11-of-15 passes for 165 yards and as core and ran 14 times for 77 yards
- Third down conversions: Wake Forest 4-of-13 – Boston College 2-of-9
Game Rating: C+
Oct. 18 Syracuse 30, at Wake Forest 7
And You Care Because … Wake Forest scored first on a ten-yard Cam Serigne touchdown catch, and then it was all Syracuse with the defense getting a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown from Robert Welsh and a 51-yard fumble return for a score form Micah Robinson. Cole Murphy hit three field goals for the Orange and A.J. Long ran for a four-yard touchdown for the Orange, while the defense dominated after Wake Forest QB John Wolford got knocked out of the game with an apparent concussion.
What Else? Total yards: Syracuse 370 – Wake Forest 170
- Syracuse QB A.J. Long completed 22-of-32 passes for 171 yards, and he ran for nine yards and a touchdown
- Syracuse RB Devante McFarlane ran ten times for 114 yards
- Average yards per carry: Syracuse 5.2 – Wake Forest 2.0
Game Rating: D
Oct. 4 at Florida State 43, Wake Forest 3
And You Care Because … Wake Forest had a 3-0 lead in the second quarter, and while Florida State scored 43 unanswered points, it wasn’t a sharp effort. Robert Aguayo hit five field goals, and Jameis Winston and Mario Pender each ran for short scores, while the Seminole defense stuffed the Demon Deacons and got a fumble return for a score from Reggie Northrup. Winston also found Travis Rudolph for a 59-yard touchdown in the fourth.
What Else? Florida State PK Robert Aguayo hit field goals from 43, 40, 52, 42 and 32 yards out
- Total yards: Florida State 475 – Wake Forest 126
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 23-of-39 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and ran seven times for 34 yards and a score
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 9-of-15 passes for 58 yards and an interception
Game Rating: D
Sept. 27 at Louisville 20, Wake Forest 10
And You Care Because … From out of nowhere, Brandon Radcliff was the star for Louisville running for scores from 29 and 16 yards out, but the second touchdown didn’t come until the fourth quarter as part of a run of 13 unanswered points. Wake Forest only gained 100 yards of offense, but held a 10-7 lead thanks to a fumble recovery for a score and a 43-yard Mike Weaver field goal. John Wallace hit field goals from 31 and 34 yards out in the fourth to help put it away for the Cardinals.
What Else? Louisville RB Brandon Radcliff ran 17 times for 129 yards and two scores
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 19-of-34 passes for 122 yards with three picks
- Rushing yards: Louisville 215 – Wake Forest -22
- Penalties: Louisville 11 for 89 yards – Wake Forest 4 for 45 yards
Game Rating: C-
Sept. 20 Wake Forest 24, Army 21
And You Care Because …Wake Forest rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to upend Army in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons scored the game’s final 10 points, including a game-winning John Wolford to E.J. Scott touchdown pass with 6:45 remaining. It was a building-block first FBS victory for rookie Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson and his rebuilding roster of young players.
What Else? Wolford enjoyed the best day of his brief college career, hitting on 25-of-35 passes for 238 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His touchdown passes went to Scott and fellow rookie TE Cam Serigne.
- Army rushed for 341 yards, its usual production on the ground, but it wasn’t enough. QB Angel Santiago led the way with 123 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
- Redshirt freshman DE Wendell Dunn has a bright future with Clawson’s team. He not only had eight stops, but 2.5 tackles were behind the line, and he forced a fumble.
- LB Jeremy Timpf was the defensive standout for the Black Knights in Winston-Salem. He had a team-high eight tackles, two stops for loss, a pick and a pass breakup.
Game Rating: B
Sept. 13 at Utah State 36, Wake Forest 24
And You Care Because … Wake Forest started out the scoring with a 70-yard Josh Banks interception return for a score. Utah State went on a 29-point first half run with Devin Centers returning a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown, Zach Vigil returning an interception 35 yards for a score, and Chuckie Keeton and Ronald Butler each throwing touchdown passes. Wake Forest scored 16 third quarter points helped by two John Wolford touchdown passes, but the offense was too mistake-prone and Utah State was able to pull away on a five-yard Wyatt Houston touchdown pass from Darell Garretson.
What Else? Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton suffered an apparent leg injury. He completed 20-of-27 passes for 166 yards and a score before getting knocked out. Darell Garretson completed 11-of-16 passes for 121 yards with a touchdown with a pick.
- Both teams kept screwing up. Wake Forest committed ten penalties for 103 yards with three turnovers, and Utah State committed eight penalties for 65 yards with three turnovers.
- Wake Forest was held to minus-25 rushing yards.
- Utah State’s Hunter Sharp caught 12 passes for 138 yards.
Game Rating: C-
Sept. 6 at Wake Forest 23, Gardner-Webb 7
And You Care Because … Wake Forest made up for a miserable opener
against ULM with an easy win, even with some problems turning drives into touchdowns, scoring the first 23 points of the game on three Mike Weaver field goals in the first half and two E.J. Scott touchdown catches from ten and 14 yards out. John Wolford completed 30-of-38 passes for 291 yards and two scores, but the true freshman threw three picks and the ground game was miserable – the Demon Deacons ran 36 times for 96 yards.
Game Rating: D+
Aug. 28 at ULM 17, Wake Forest 10
And You Care Because … ULM scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, culminating in a nine-yard touchdown run from QB Pete Thomas with under four minutes to play. The Wake Forest offense sputtered all game long, only generating a 38-yard field goal – the Demon Deacon touchdown came on a blocked punt return.
What Else? Five. Five first downs, -3 yards rushing and a total of 94 yards of total offense. That’s what Wake Forest came up with in a disastrous performance with nothing going right. There was only one turnover, but the line was absolutely abysmal allowing seven sacks.
- In his debut, former Colorado State/NC State QB Pete Thomas completed 23-of-41 passes for 189 yards and ran for the game-winning score for ULM. For Wake Forest, true freshman John Wolford had a nightmare of a time, completing just 12-of-22 passes for 97 yards and a pick. He was under pressure all game long.
- Wake Forest LB Brandon Chubb made 18 tackles, and the defense did a decent job, but it didn’t get any help from an offense that just couldn’t generate any long drives. The Demon Deacons held the ball for just 24:37.
- Neither offense was able to do anything to get excited about, but at least ULM was able to run the ball a bit. Centarius Donald had a nice run on his way to 117 yards, taking the pressure off Thomas and the passing attack.
Game Rating: C-
The Demon Deacons had grown stale under Jim Grobe. Enter Dave Clawson.
Grobe had a good thing going for a while in Winston-Salem, even winning the ACC back in 2006. But that was a long time ago, and the program hasn’t delivered a winning season since 2008. Clawson was lured out of the Mid-American Conference in the hopes that he can do at Wake Forest what he did for Bowling Green … and Fordham and Richmond previously. In short, the coach is a program-builder, who has always left his team in better shape than when he arrived. In Year 5 with the Falcons, he led the school to its first MAC title since 1992.
Wake Forest is at a perennial disadvantage versus the rest of the ACC, since it’s a small private school that attracts second-tier recruits. Clawson will look to overcome the odds in 2014, sans last year’s best offensive and defensive players, starting quarterback and leading rusher. The administration has no choice but to be patient, even if the coaching staff isn’t.
Clawson’s biggest roadblock, by far, to immediate success will be the offense. The coach is an innovator, to be sure, but he’s inheriting a team that averaged 18 points a game in 2013, and returns no sure-thing playmakers. The quarterback will be inexperienced, and the backs and receivers are giant black and old gold question marks. If Winston-Salem isn’t home to the ACC’s worst offense in 2014, mark it down as an upset.
If Wake Forest beats forecasts this season, the defense will likely get most of the credit. The Demon Deacons were respectable in 2013, allowing 24 points per game. And while NG Nikita Whitlock and others will be missed, the D can build around an underrated secondary that returns all four starters from last November. Corners Kevin Johnson and Merrill Noel have next-level potential, which will cause problems for quarterbacks if a pass rush shows up.
Clawson is a program-builder, not a miracle-worker. He’s going to need time. Lots of it, in fact, before Wake Forest can seriously think about the postseason, let alone ACC contention. This first season for the coach and his staff will be all about installing systems, learning the personnel and building depth on both sides of the ball. After five straight losing seasons, the Deacons needed to replace Grobe on the sidelines. While his successor may be a step in the right direction, it’s doubtful anyone will know it until at least 2015.
What to look for on offense: The quarterback race. No, Tanner Price wasn’t a sharpshooter, but he was a steady vet with a ton of experience. He’ll be missed. Behind Price is uncertainty. Sophomore Tyler Cameron appeared in three games as the 2013 backup, but seven completions are hardly enough to box out the competition. Kevin Sousa has been moved from wide receiver to quarterback to provide competition, and he had some moments in the spring. There’s no sense in ruling out the incoming rookies, Travis Smith and John Wolford, if the veterans leave the door open this summer.
What to look for on defense: The pass rush problem. Wake Forest was No. 12 in the ACC in sacks last season. Worse yet, 14.5 of the team’s 23 sacks came from graduated linemen, Nikita Whitlock and Zach Thompson. The secondary will be good this season, but not so good that it can withstand an eternity for quarterbacks to throw. Coordinator Mike Elko is putting out APBs for linemen capable of moving the line of scrimmage in 2014. Ends Zachary Allen and Desmond Floyd, DT Josh Banks and NG Johnny Garcia got plenty of first-team reps in the spring, but all four will get pushed for reps when the new troops arrive in August.
The team will be far better if … it locates a running game. The offense needs to improve. But don’t expect one of the young quarterbacks to be an instant agent of change, especially when he’ll have to deliver the ball to a middling corps of receivers. No, what Wake Forest needs to do is to create more running room for the feature back, whoever that might wind up being. During the five-year run of losing seasons, the Deacons have averaged more than four yards a carry just one time, 2010. When a team norms less than three yards a carry, as it did in 2013, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on the rest of the team, namely the quarterback.
The Schedule: There are some dangerous and sneaky non-conference games early on going to ULM and Utah State - both programs are used to pulling off big upsets. Still, with Gardner-Webb and Army at home, going 4-0 is a must with a brutal start ot the ACC going to Louisville and Florida State. Fortunately, there isn't a road game from October 4th until November 15th. Getting a week off to get ready for Syracuse is big, and getting another to prepare for CLemson helps. The issue is late, closing out with two road games in the final three at NC State and Duke wrapped around a home date with Virginia Tech.
Best Offensive Player: Senior RB Orville Reynolds. Forgotten and generally overlooked for much of his Deacon career, Reynolds is now being counted on to spearhead the ground game. He played flanker last season, and can make plays from anywhere on the field, but the new staff needs him to breathe life into a desolate backfield. Reynolds has embraced the opportunity throughout the offseason, consistently making plays in the spring with his quick feet and elusiveness. His experience as a wide receiver will also uniquely position him to contribute on screens, dump-offs and passes in the flat.
Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Kevin Johnson. Johnson begins the season with a team-high 29 career starts, a luxury for a program sorely lacking experience on both sides of the ball. He’s the best pass defender from a defensive backfield that returns all four players to start during the month of November. Johnson has a chance this fall to play his way into 2015 NFL Draft consideration. And when coupled at cornerback with fellow fourth-year starter Merrill Noel, the pair gives the staff the ability to blitz without paying for it through the air.
Key players to a successful season: The offensive linemen. Wake Forest lacks the offensive talent to engineer a dramatic stride from a year ago, when it hung up a measly 18 points per game. But those quarterbacks, running backs and receivers will be slightly more serviceable if the front wall is able to create time and daylight. The Demon Deacons have a possible foundation in C Cory Helms and OT Dylan Intemann. The eventual grade on this group, though, will hinge on other holdovers, like OT Hunter Goodwin and guards Antonio Ford and Tyler Hayworth.
The season will be a success if ... the Deacons are playing their best ball in November. What is this, a three or four-win team in 2014? The final record won’t be as important this fall as it will be to make tangible gains throughout the campaign. No one will ever hint to the reality that this season is largely about getting a running start on 2015. But if Wake Forest shows signs of catching on late in the year, or even delivers an upset, it’ll be a talking point Dave Clawson can go to during another long offseason.
Key game: Nov. 29 at Duke. Staying with the theme that Wake’s most telling games will occur in November, how about that regular-season finale in Durham? If the Deacons are looking for a tailwind, beating the defending Coastal Division champs at Wallace Wade Stadium would certainly qualify. These rivals always play competitive games, regardless of whatever gap that exists between them. If Wake can pull out a close one on the road, it could give Clawson the catapult he needs to take into the winter.
2013 Fun Stats:
- Yards per rush: Wake Forest 2.9 – Opponents 3.7
- Third-down conversions: Wake Forest 35% – Opponents 36%
- Second-half scoring: Wake Forest 86 - Opponents 115
Wake Forest Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players