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CFN Take: Wake Forest Loses Late To Vandy

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 30, 2013


Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2013 .... Head Coach: Jim Grobe

 
Wake Forest
Demon Deacons

2013 Record: 4-8
8/29 Presbyterian W 31-7
9/6 at Boston Coll L 24-10
9/14 ULM L 21-19
9/21 at Army W 25-11
9/28 at Clemson L 56-7
10/5 NC State W 28-13
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 Maryland W 34-10
10/26 at Miami L 24-21
11/2 at Syracuse L 13-0
11/9 Florida State L 59-3
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 Duke L 28-21
11/30 at Vanderbilt L 23-21
at Vanderbilt 23, Wake Forest 21
Basically … Vanderbilt’s Carey Spear hit a 38-yard field goal with 39 seconds remaining for the win after hitting a 25-yard kick with just under seven minutes to play and a 41-yarder at the end of the first half. Wake Forest’s offense struggled, but Justin Jackson returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and Tanner Price and Dominique Gibson each ran for short scores in the first half to keep up the pace.
- Vanderbilt outgained Wake Forest 403 yards to 266
- Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews caught 11 passes for 125 yards
- Vanderbilt QB Austyn Carta-Samuels completed 24-of-33 passes for 231 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran ten times for 28 yards.
- Wake Forest QB Tanner Price completed 16-of-32 passes for 155 yards with a pick, and he led the team with 47 yards and a score on 12 carries.

Duke 28, at Wake Forest 21
Basically … Duke came back from down seven in the third quarter with a 58-yard touchdown play to Jamison Crowder and a three-yard Brandon Connette touchdown run. Wake Forest took a 14-0 lead with a 59-yard fumble return for a score from Thomas Brown and a six-yard Spencer Bishop touchdown catch, but Duke came back to tie it on a ten-yard Crowder catch and a four-yard Max McCaffrey scoring play, but had to answer after Tanner Price ran for a 12-yard score.
- Duke WR Jamison Crowder caught ten passes for 121 yards and two scores.
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 24-of-29 passes for 256 yards and three scores, and led the team with 57 rushing yards on seven carries.
- Wake Forest RB Josh Harris ran 19 times for 67 yards, and led the team with 35 yards on two catches.
- Duke outgained Wake Forest 378 yards to 248

Florida State 59, at Wake Forest 3
Basically … Florida State clinched a berth in the ACC championship with an easy blowout win going up 42-0 in the first half and going up 52-0 before Wake Forest got its only points on a 23-yard Chad Hedlund field goal. Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes, Nate Andrews returned a pick 56 yards for a score and Levonte Whitfield returned a kickoff for a touchdown, but the big key was the defense, taking the ball away seven times with six picks.
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 17-of-28 passes for 159 yards and 159 yards and two touchdown with a pick.
- Wake Forest QB Tyler Cameron completed 5-of-19 passes for 63 yards and three picks, and Tanner Price completed 1-of-4 passes for three yards and three interceptions.
- Along with seven turnovers, Wake Forest committed ten penalties.
- Florida State ran for just 89 yards, but scored three times. Karlos Williams and James Wilder, Jr. each ran for 49 yards and a score.

at Syracuse 13, Wake Forest 0, Nov. 2
Basically … Terrel Hunt broke a scoreless tie midway through the third quarter with a six-yard touchdown run, which was all of the scoring that Syracuse needed to get back to .500. WR Jarrod West found WR Brisly Estime a few minutes later on a 25-yard scoring strike, putting the Orange out ahead 13-0 in a defensive struggle. Wake Forest was unable to overcome an injury to star WR Michael Campanaro, and failed to even reach the Syracuse red zone.
- Wake Forest converted just 4-of-18 third-down attempts.
- For Syracuse, the shutout was the school’s first in a league game since 1996.
- The two teams combined for 23 punts.
- Deacon LB Brandon Chubb collected a game-high 11 tackles to go along with a couple of pass breakups.

at Miami 24, Wake Forest 21
Basically … Duke Johnson punched it in from one-yard out with under a minute to play as Miami avoided the disastrous upset loss. Johnson scored on a four-yard touchdown run with just under six minutes to play to give the Hurricanes the lead, but Wake Forest answered with a 44-yard Dominique Gibson touchdown catch for a 21-17 advantage. The Hurricanes went 73 yards in a crisp ten plays for the win.
- Give the Demon Deacon defense credit for putting up a good fight against a dangerous offense. Miami only scored ten points in the first 54 minutes, and while there were problems holding up late, and the D wasn’t even close on the final drive, it was a good game against an unbeaten team on the road.
- Coming off two straight wins, Wake Forest came close, but it missed on a great chance to make a huge statement in the ACC bowl picture. There’s still time to come up with two more wins with Syracuse, Duke and Vanderbilt still to play, but the Demon Deacons have to win two of those three with Florida State still to deal with.

at Wake Forest 34, Maryland 10
Basically … Wake Forest opened up with the first ten points, and Tanner Price took control in the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown run and a four-yard scoring grab from WR Michael Campanaro for a 24-3 lead. A 56-yard Levern Jacobs touchdown catch helped give Maryland some life, but Price and Campanaro hooked up for a ten-yard score.
- Nose guard Nikita Whitlock owned the game. He controlled the line, getting after the Maryland backfield time and again to screw up the offense. Tanner Price might have been the star, completing 26-of-36 passes for 231 yards and a score with a rushing touchdown and a scoring grab, but the defense took over when it had to thanks to Whitlock’s pressure.
- Maryland needs to get C.J. Brown back on track. He completed 15-of-24 passes for 137 yards, but he threw two picks and put the team behind early. The running game didn’t go anywhere against the active Wake Forest defensive front with just 39 yards, with Brown getting dropped time and again.
- The last thing the Terps need is a wounded Clemson team up next. They’ll go bowling, needing just one more win, but the second half of the season could become a disaster unless the offensive line is night-and-day better than it was against the Demon Deacons. The backfield needs more time to work.
- This turned the season back around for Wake Forest for good. Beating NC State was a huge moment after the Clemson blowout, but getting by the Terps was huge with a road game at Miami coming up next. Now with four wins, there’s still a shot at a bowl game even with the Tigers and Florida State to face.

at Wake Forest 28, NC State 13
Basically … Tanner Price ran for a one-yard score and threw three touchdown passes including two scoring throws to Michael Campanaro from ten and 27 yards away. NC State had a 10-7 lead in the second quarter on an 11-yard Quintin Payton catch with 39 seconds left in the half, but the Demon Deacons answered with Campanaro’s first touchdown catch of the game with six seconds remaining.
- All of a sudden, a Wake Forest offense that didn’t do anything against Clemson and sputtered against ULM and Boston College was able to move the ball just enough to get by. Tanner Price was the offense, completing 24-of-39 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns and a pick, and leading the way with 82 rushing yards and a score. Michael Campanaro caught 12 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Demon Deacons did a nice job of generating pressure with four sacks and plenty of plays in the backfield. The effort showed as NC State misfired on several key plays and couldn’t generate enough offense in the second half.
- The Wolfpack offense needs to find more explosion. The running game isn’t getting enough from the backs – the line isn’t generating enough of a push – the longest play from an RB just seven yards. There wasn’t enough room to move against the aggressive Demon Deacon defense.
- It’ll be interesting to see what NC State does with its quarterback situation. The loss wasn’t exactly Pete Thomas’ fault, but he didn’t spark the offense, completing 27-of-43 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown with two picks.

at Clemson 56, Wake Forest 7
Basically … Clemson’s offense was firing on all cylinders from the start, getting up 21-0 in the first quarter on two of Tajh Boyd’s three touchdown passes with a 64-yarder to Sammy Watkins and a 75-yarder to D.J. Howard. Wake Forest got on the board late in the first on a ten-yard Sherman Ragland scoring grab, and that was it – the Tigers scored 35 unanswered points highlighted by a Boyd touchdown run and two one-yard scores from C.J. Davidson.
- There was no messing around. Clemson did exactly what it was supposed to do to a far, far weaker opponent, putting the game away immediately and never letting Wake Forest think this was a game. Tajh Boyd joined Phil Rivers as one the only ACC players to account for 100 career scores. He completed 17-of-24 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns, and led the team with 69 rushing yards and a touchdown.
- Wake Forest had to abandon the running game almost immediately, and that’s been a problem lately. Unfortunately, Tanner Price wasn’t able to keep up the pace with the passing game. He completed 14-of-22 passes for 125 yards and a score, but Clemson didn’t allow anything deep. There was one decent big play, but that was it.
- Clemson’s defense isn’t getting enough credit. It spent almost all afternoon in the Demon Deacon backfield, making three sacks with ten tackles for loss – the pressure was coming from all sides.
- The Wake Forest D couldn’t get off the field, especially early on. Clemson hit home runs early on, and Tajh Boyd managed to convert third down play after third down play. The Demon Deacon offense was never in control of anything.

Wake Forest 25, at Army 11
Basically … Down 11-10 late in the third quarter, Wake Forest scored 15 unanswered points with two Josh Harris touchdown runs from 15 and six yards away. Army got up on three Daniel Grochowski field goals and a first quarter safety, but the offense couldn’t get into the end zone.
- Army can’t win unless it outgains the opponent on the ground by leaps and bounds. Wake Forest, helped mostly by Josh Harris and QB Tanner Price, came up with 228 yards to Army’s 271, and they controlled the game in the second half.
- Wake Forest played strong, disciplined defense bending, but not breaking. It was an absolute killer for the Knights to get three excellent drives deep into Demon Deacon territory and ending with field goals instead of touchdowns.
- How do you beat an option offense? Get a big game from the defensive interior. Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock led the team with 14 tackles with three tackles for loss. Army didn’t have any answers for him.
- The Wake Forest passing attack needs a whole bunch of help. Tanner Price might be a good veteran, but he only completed 6-of-17 passes for 132 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He didn’t take advantage of his chances.

ULM 21, at Wake Forest 19, Sept. 14
Basically … Wake Forest came up with the touchdown it needed in the final seconds on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Orville Reynolds with four seconds to play to pull within two, but QB Tanner Price’s two-point conversion pass went low and ULM came away with the win. Reynolds also caught a 65-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but ULM got three short touchdown passes from Kolton Browning to get up 21-13, and despite the late touchdown, the defense held on.
- The Wake Forest defense came up with its share of key stops, but Kolton Browning led the way to three long scoring drives including a grinding 17 play march to start the game. ULM only had three really good drives, but that’s all it needed. The Warhawks owned the clock, keeping the ball for almost 39 minutes.
- Wake Forest settled for field goals when it could’ve taken control with touchdowns. The march at the end of the first half for a 38-yard field goal with no time left on the clock was fine, but an earlier drive that settled for a field goal turned out to be a big deal.
- Kolton Browning was Kolton Browning again, throwing 68 times for 315 yards and three touchdowns and two picks, and while he didn’t run well, he didn’t need to.
- Uhhhhhh, Wake Forest? Running game? The Demon Deacons didn’t even try, letting Tanner Price throw and throw some more. They ran just 15 times for 15 yards.

at Boston College 24, Wake Forest 10, Sept. 6
Basically … BC got a huge day out of Andre Williams, who ran for 204 yards and a score on 35 times, and Chase Rettig threw two touchdown passes, including a 26-yarder to Alex Amidon to kick off the scoring, on the way to a 24-7 lead. Wake Forest turned the ball over three times and only got into the end zone on a 30-yard Michael Campanaro touchdown catch.
- The Demon Deacon O line couldn’t generate any room whatsoever for the ground game. Josh Harris lost a key fumble and only came up with 18 yards on ten carries. The offense couldn’t get the option to work – it was too mistake-prone.
- Wake Forest has to quickly figure out how to come up with some semblance of offensive pop. The running game failed, and the passing attack couldn’t pick up the slack. Michael Campanaro did what he could, but outside of one big play to Jonathan Williams, there wasn’t much else happening down the field.

at Wake Forest 31, Presbyterian 7, Aug. 29
Basically … Presbyterian scored first on a one yard Kris Hurley touchdown catch, but that was it for the fun. Wake Forest scored 31 unanswered points in a dominant performance with Tanner Price hitting Spencer Bishop for a 20-yard score and running for a three-yard touchdown in the second, and Brandon Chubb took an interception 29 yards for a touchdown in the third.
- 25 to two. That’s the first down disparity. The Blue Hose of Presbyterian came up with a grand total of two first downs.
- Jonathan Williams came up with five catches for 143 yards for the Demon Deacons. Tanner Price threw for 219 yards and a score and ran for 31 yards and a score.
- The Demon Deacon defense simply wasn’t on the field, coming up with third down stop after third down stop. Wake Forest had the ball for 38:21.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … the Demon Deacons have the numbers to be vastly improved after missing the postseason in 2012. Just about everyone is back from a team that stumbled to the finish line to just miss a bowl game. Included among the returners are Wake Forest’s best offensive and defensive players, WR Michael Campanaro and NG Nikita Whitlock, respectively, and three-year starting QB Tanner Price.

Why To Be Grouchy … after finishing last season 117th nationally in total offense and 88th in total defense, a similar starting lineup guarantees nothing. The Deacons will have to make adjustments and improvements on both sides of the ball in order to reach .500 and make a return to the postseason. The offensive line, in particular, still has a long way to go before becoming ACC-caliber.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … cranking up the ground game. Wake Forest, like most teams, is far more effective when it can pound the ball consistently between the tackles. The 2012 Deacons averaged just three yards a carry, which drastically reduced the effectiveness of Price and Campanaro. Wake needs to find a way to unlock the running potential of senior Josh Harris and sophomore Deandre Martin.

Team Concerns For 2013: Moving the ball. If the offense was able to do anything, the Demon Deacons would've gone bowling finishing 117th in the nation in yards and 114th in scoring. Josh Harris is a good back, but the running game didn't go anywhere behind a shaky line, while the passing game was the ACC's most inefficient. The secondary that allowed 267 yards per game needs more out of a veteran group that only loses safety Chibuiken Okoro.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Outside linebacker. This is a massive class with a little bit for everyone. The line got a future starting tackle in Taylor Chambers, while Josh Harris could be better, and center Cory Helms will someday be the quarterback up front. The bulk is on defense with several outside linebacker prospects led by Wendell Dunn and Lance Virgile, who'll bring speed along with the size to add several pounds of good weight, while Ford Howell and Ali Lamot are going to be factors. Brad Watson will be a starting corner sooner than later.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 69. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. Wake Forest is hardly known for its air attack, bit it has to have the pieces in place for 2014 with Tanner Price and Ted Stachitas done in a few years. The receiving corps lost talented Chris Givens a year early to the NFL, and this year’s class could produce a prospect or two to make an early impact. More than anything else, head coach Jim Grobe wants to go after as many good players as possible regardless of position.  

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 75. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. This is a smallish class after coming up with a little bit of everything last year, and while head coach Jim Grobe got a few good players like quarterback Kevin Sousa and receiver Airyn Willis, the key are the three offensive linemen brought in to build the foundation to finally get the offense moving again. Hunter Goodwin is a tall, athletic tackle, while Cody Preble and Dylan Intemann were brought in for the interior. Andre Wiggins will eventually be a star somewhere in the defensive back seven.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 53. That Class Was Heavy On ... Variety. Jim Grobe got a little of everything across the board with Tanner Price the passer to take over the offense in the near future, while Nick Knott and Joseph Byrd are quick backs who fit the system. Antonio Ford and Daniel Blitch are promising offensive linemen for the interior, while Duke Mosby has anchor potential on the defensive front. Only six defensive recruits were signed on, but four of them are for the secondary with Merril Noel a good corner who would've been rated higher if he was a wee bit taller than the generously listed 5-8.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 59. That Class Was Heavy On ... linebackers. Now that Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux have exhausted their eligibility, it’s time for the Deacons to replenish at linebacker. While this year’s four recruits aren’t very big, they can all fly to the ball, which is exactly the way Wake likes its defenders. The prototype is Justin Jackson, a 6-1, 203-pounder with 4.5 speed and a better vertical leap than most of the ACC’s receivers.


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