Every streak has to end sometime, but it pains me to write this: Duke has snapped a 12 game losing streak in football to Wake Forest. The game really wasn't as close as the score suggests. and with Duke getting 17 points on four turnovers (one of which was admittedly on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half) and Wake Forest only getting three points off of Duke's one turnover, it stands to reason that Duke would come out on top. Wake was straight up beaten in every phase of the game, and the fact that Michael Campanaro is out with an injury being reported as a broken hand, and Wake is now 3-2 (1-2), this loss calls many things about this season into serious question. But first, to talk about each phase of the game:
- Our offense was mediocre despite the fairly large score. I will say this much, our attack was pleasantly balanced, with 230 yards passing and 167 yards rushing. Josh Harris and Deandre Martin split those rushing gains almost directly down the middle, with Harris chipping in 84 yards on 17 carries, and Martin adding 63 yards on 11 carries. Tanner Price had the very definition of a mediocre day. going 19/38 for 230 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, as well as a fumble. I will say this for Tanner, neither of the interceptions was really his fault. The first was the aforementioned Hail Mary, and the second was on a solid pass that bounced off of the Wake receiver, high into the air, and was recovered by Duke. That said, our offensive line struggled protecting Tanner. and Tanner certainly made some questionable decisions. The most frustrating part of the game offensively was our receiving corps. The loss of Michael Campanaro is an unbelievable blow, but pass after pass was dropped by the other receivers. Sometimes it was a case of stone hands, sometimes it was a case of alligator arms, but either way there is no excuse for it. I don't envy the receivers in the upcoming practices, as I'm sure Coach Galloway is going to have plenty to say to them.
- Our defense was...bad. I'm sorry, but there's no other way to put it. The defense forced the third and 20+ situations, the largest being 27, and Duke converted every last one of them. There is no excuse for that, especially with our secondary being as vaunted as it was coming into the year. I'm frankly a little disgusted, as none of the plays on the huge third and longs were particularly tricky plays either. Our defense just flat out gave up. I will give props to Mike Olson and Joey Ehrmann, both of whom were all over the field.
- Our Special Teams once again were okay, including a nice 45 yard field goal from Jimmy Newman. I have nothing bad to say about that phase of the game.
There was one point that I think turned the game in favor of Duke. Wake was down three and made a huge interception deep in Duke territory (that coincidentally also took out Duke QB Sean Renfree) and settled for a field goal when they had a 4th and about half a yard. I genuinely believe that if Wake had gone for it they would have converted, and chances would've been good that the Deacs would be up by four instead of tying the game. I honestly think that was the turning point in this game.
At this point, we are very very lucky to make a bowl. We have a favorable schedule, but the loss of Michael Campanaro is huge, and instead of being 4-1 and riding a wave of momentum in a game against a questionable Maryland squad, we're limping in at 3-2.
Get well soon, Camp. We need you. Hopefully the team can bring things together, but if not, basketball season can't come soon enough. And even that isn't necessarily much solace. Anyway, that's getting ahead of things. In spite of it all, thanks for reading, and Go Deacs.