Instead, the game ended in less than 8 minutes.
The Deacs succumbed to an initial big-play volley and never put up a fight in a 56-7 dismantling by the host Tigers. Clemson rolled up 573 yards of offense to the Deacs' 222, many of those Wake yards acquired in garbage time.
Some quick grades:
Clemson ran 83 plays to Wake's 61 and scored touchdowns on 8 of 14 drives, including its first 3. That's not good. This is still a good defense, and frankly I'm willing to give them a pass on this one. Their backs must be sore from carrying the team.
Still, this week they earn a grade of: D
Quarterback Tanner Price was 14-22 for 125 and a touchdown before being pulled (presumably for his safety) at the half. Michael Campanaro, for his part, continued his path through the Wake Forest record book by catching 7 passes for 75 yards.
The stat book shows a balanced Wake Forest attack, 28 runs along with 33 passes.
That is a lie. A damned lie.
Wake Forest throws so many screen passes and quick outs to Campanaro in space that it inflates the passing numbers. If it's 3rd and 8, and you throw it 2 yards against Clemson...you get the picture.
31 rushes for 60 yards (1.9 YPR). The End.
Let's talk about this for a moment. Wake Forest is now 2-3 (0-2 ACC) and needs to win 4 of the last 7 games to become bowl-eligible. Its remaining opponents: N.C. State (3-1), Maryland (4-0), Miami (4-0), Florida State (4-0), Syracuse (2-2), Duke (3-2) and Vanderbilt (3-2).
Find me four.
How did Wake get here? And by "Here" I mean, 2-3 and on track for a fifth straight losing season. "Here" is also the place where you install a run offense that has attained a modicum of success in the past, only to find that it doesn't fit the personnel of your senior-laden team. "Here" is where, on the eve of a big showdown with rival N.C. State, you have to worry about a "Fire Somebody" banner being flown near the stadium before the game.
This is a thing. It's going to happen. This weekend. While the Dixie Classic Fair is in full swing.
Oh, and it's also Family Weekend at Wake Forest. I'm sure donors' checkbooks will be flying open.
How in the world, after generating so much goodwill and publicity, has Wake Forest football once again reached these depths?
It is no sin to get drilled by the No. 3 team in the country on their Homecoming day. It's really not. To me, the biggest transgression was voiced by head coach Jim Grobe himself, in his postgame comments on Saturday.
"My biggest disappointment today was how poorly we played, fundamentally," Grobe said. "I mean we did some things today that nobody gets coached to do."
Grobe and his staff are counting on a lot of young talent to plug important holes. However, a team featuring senior starters in Price, Campanaro and Josh Harris shouldn't be this inept on offense. The playcalling is still, after 5 games (or 5 years, take your pick) predictable. So far this season, this team has played a quarter and a half of good offensive football.
Banner or not, this week's game against State, in Grobe's words, is one of those games that you've got to win. There is a lot of pressure on this Wake Forest team, one that had high expectations before the season. The season can still be salvaged, but as a wise man once told me, "You keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting."
Keep following BSD throughout the week as we get you ready for the visit from the Wuffies.