Well I predicted Wake to lose 66-0 last week and said I had no idea how Wake would score. By these metrics I suppose Wake exceeded my expectations, but it would be difficult to say that by any other objective metrics the 59-3 beatdown Wake took at the hands of the second-ranked Florida State Seminoles was acceptable. I've sat through a cornucopia of crushing losses as a Wake fan and to be honest this wasn't remotely close to being with in the pantheon of frustrating defeats, but the way the game was lost was pretty disappointing. While Wake's defense managed to play a quasi-respectable game, the Demon Deacon offense had one of the worst performances I've ever seen out of an FBS program.
The defense ultimately held the high-powered Seminoles, led by Jameis Winston, to 296 yards but still managed to give up a whopping 59 points. The 59 points was the most in BB&T history as FSU broke their own record of 56 points which they set in 1994. It would almost be comical for me to sit here and say the defense played well while giving up 59 points, but in all honesty I thought they could have fared considerably worse going up against a team who entered the day having scored 41 points in every contest so far in the 2013 season. One caveat must be added though in that the FSU offense was handed short fields and limited time on the field primarily because Wake's offense was completely incompetent. FSU drove down the field on their first drive of the game to punch it in for six, but the next three drives for Wake Forest ended in an interception where FSU got the ball at Wake's 2, another interception where FSU got the ball at Wake's 15, and then a pick six to put FSU up 28-0 at the start of the second quarter.
Jameis Winston did start the first drive of the second half, but was mostly relegated to short passes, handoffs, and a watered-down offense against a Wake team who was basically non-competitive. While his stats were not overly impressive and FSU looked a little bit sloppy at the start of the noon kickoff, Winston's talent was undeniable and multiple times during the game I thought to myself "this guy has an absolute cannon." Winston did make one mistake in the second half throwing the ball short on what appeared to be a slant or curl on the outside, allowing Ryan Janvion to pick him off for the Seminoles' first turnover of the game, but the game was well in hand at this point.
I don't want to spend much more time thinking about this one other than to say Nikita Whitlock was an absolute beast and was borderline unblockable up front. The announcers were enamored by Nikita, at one point even making the comment "if we've seen a better defensive lineman this year then I can't remember it." Nikita now ranks 8th in the nation in sacks with 8.5 and 4th in the country in tackles for loss with 15.5. I often fall prisoner of the moment with Wake athletes but I truly believe Nikita is one of my favorite Deacs of all time (alongside teammate Michael Campanaro) and I'm excited to see him play his final two games as a Demon Deacon over the next three weeks. It's been an honor and a privilege to watch you give your all every play Nikita, you will be successful in whatever you choose to do after Wake Forest and I do believe it will be in the NFL for a few years.
Going from one of the best to one of the worst, it's necessary to talk about Wake's offensive performance. Wake turned the ball over seven times in the game and Kinal still punted more times than his career average which is already highly inflated. That's pretty hard to accomplish. Wake had the ball 19 times and punted it nine times, threw six interceptions, had the half end a drive twice, fumbled it once, and kicked one field goal. Now I don't claim to be a football expert but I'll go ahead and say that's not very good. This game kind of embodied the difference between Wake's offense and defense which we've seen all year, but we'll talk about that in a second. I've given Price props when he has played well so I'll go ahead and say what he already knows: Saturday's performance was not good. He threw the ball four times and on the bright side completed four passes. The bad news is he completed three of his four passes to the other team - one of which was returned for a touchdown. Cameron wasn't much better, also throwing three interceptions, and Wake became only the second FBS team in the past decade to record a QBR of 0.0 as a team. That's horrible.
So bigger picture, the offense this year has been pretty horrible all around while the defense has consistently been why Wake has been in most of the games. I'll just list the following Wake rankings and let them speak for themselves before I give a couple of comments myself.
Scoring Offense: 17.8 ppg (115th in the country, of 125 teams)
Total Offense: 299.0 (118th out of 125)
Passing Offense: 208.0 (87th out of 125)
Rushing Offense: 91.0 (118th out of 125)
Scoring Defense: 23.8 (50th out of 125)
Total Defense: 361.3 (30th out of 125)
Passing Defense: 214.8 (33rd out of 125)
Rushing Defense: 146.5 (39th out of 125)
Wake's defense is in the top 50 of every single major category while the offense's best rank is 87th. This alone tells the tale of the tape, but it's also interesting to point out that Wake's rushing offense and total offense are in the bottom ten in the nation. Similarly, Wake is ranked last in the ACC in three of the four major categories and 11th out of 14 in the other (passing offense). By all metrics Wake's offense is horrible. This is just inexcusable given that we start a fourth-year quarterback, a fourth-year running back, prior to Camp's injury boasted a pretty consistent wide receiving corps, and are playing with a bunch of guys recruited by both Lobo and Grobe (who have obviously been here long enough to have their own class of recruits).
I made my comments last week about Lobo and everybody I've talked to agrees on what his fate should be, but it's difficult to watch Wake football right now and not comment on how ridiculously bad our offense is. Lobo has had two four year starters at quarterback in his twelve years at Wake and both teams are going to miss bowl games. That's an indictment of the system and an absolute shame. Do better Lobo. We've scored three points in two weeks and this basically looks and feels like the Caldwell era all over again. I wouldn't be surprised honestly if Wake fails to score 20+ points total the rest of the year without Campanaro. The offense has been anemic without our top weapon and we don't have any answers whatsoever.
I'm gonna keep this week short given my general frustration at Wake football. I'll make the transition to basketball talk next week since we have a bye in football and when we have a bigger sample size of non-conference games to go by but at least Wake got off to a 1-0 start against Colgate even with a slow start. Let's move to the awards and get out of here.
I really really struggled to find something positive to talk about with the Sam Swank Golden Boot. I do want to give a shoutout to Ryan Janvion for his pick that I mentioned earlier, as well as Bud Noel for making a fantastic play on the outside forcing a fumble in the second half. These two efforts were great defensive plays and deserve a mention. I talked about this earlier but I have to give the Golden Boot to Nikita for wreaking havoc in the backfield. Despite only playing about half the game he record 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks while being double-teamed by one of the best offensive lines in the nation. Florida State had plenty of answers to almost every question Wake posited on Saturday but they weren't able to keep Nikita from getting pressure in the backfield. He is undoubtedly an incredible defensive lineman who starts the push for the D making it a formidable unit. Nikita will be sorely missed next season and I suspect we don't understand how impactful he is until we'll see the line without him next year. On a day where there were very few positives, Nikita brought the heat as he always does.
Lobo's Headset was a pretty easy selection and it goes to the Wake Forest quarterbacks. Here's the stat line for the entire quarterback corps Saturday: 7-for-25 for 63 yards (2.5 yards per pass) and SIX INTERCEPTIONS. Yes, six interceptions. The three individual QPR ratings for the quarterbacks (where 50 is average) were 0.6, 0.0, and 1.0. Yes, the best quarterback effort we had received a one out of one hundred. That's pathetic. There were a lot of things that went into the poor play but a lot of it was just bad decision-making by quarterbacks. Tanner's first interception was directly to the linebacker, his final interception he just lobbed in there allowing the corner to jump his route, and Cameron's three interceptions were all the result of throwing into heavy coverage. The offensive line was weak the entire day making it difficult for any QB to have time to complete passes, but even when they were able to get set and throw most of the passes were still horrible. This was literally the worst quarterback performance I've ever seen. If you recall a worse game or effort please let me know, I've legitimately put a substantial amount of thought into it and can't come up with a worse performance.
We here at Blogger So Dear expected this one to be a huge game for the Kinal Kount and unsurprisingly it was. What actually was surprising though was the number of times Kinal actually COULD have punted. If we had only turned it over three times instead of seven, he would have had 13 punts. As it was he had nine punts and only increased his record-setting pace on the NCAA punt record. Let's check the stats and see where we stand on the #KinalKount: