So far in the 2014 season, the Demon Deacon football team has been marked by two distinct parallels - a strong, veteran defense and a fairly weak, young offense. In the matchup against Syracuse on Saturday, October 18, those parallels were incredibly evident as Wake's defense held the Orange to one offensive touchdown, while the offense gave up two defensive touchdowns in a 30-7 rout.
As has been the case so far this year, the Demon Deacons struck first, outperforming Syracuse with 83-78 offensive yards and 62-46 in passing yards.nWith 5:29 left in the first quarter, Cam Serigne caught a 10-yard pass from John Wolford to score the Deacs' first touchdown of the day and put Wake up 6-0. Mike Weaver, yet to miss a kick this season, got the extra kick to make it 7-0.
As the clock started to run down on the first quarter, Syracuse took their time as they rushed down the field on their way to a field goal from Cole Murphy to make it 7-3 with 1:09 left on the clock. Going into the second quarter, it looked as if the Deacs had found a way to limit the Syracuse offense and fight their way through the game.
Kicking off the second quarter, punter Alex Kinal hit a career-long 65-yard punt to force the Orange to start on their own 8-yard line. Freshman quarterback AJ Long, well protected by a strong offensive line, got the ball down the field and rushed for a 4-yard touchdown with 7:50 left on the clock for a 10-7 Syracuse lead.
Things got worse for the Demon Deacons when defensive end Robert Welsh intercepted Wolford's throw and returned the ball for a 42-yard touchdown to give the Orange a 17-7 lead. At what looked to be the turning point of the game, Wolford was hit hard and was taken out of the game to be observed. He remained under observation for the rest of the quarter and throughout halftime, and eventually changed into street clothes, prompting Tyler Cameron to come in at quarterback. After the game, it was announced that Wolford did not show any concussive symptoms and if that continued, he will be eligible to return in next week's matchup. Cameron and the Deacs held off any further Syracuse attempts to go into the half down 17-7.
With Wolford still under observation for a suspected, but not confirmed, concussion, it was announced that he was not expected to return to the game. While one true freshman quarterback was stuck on the sidelines, the other, Syracuse's Long, continued to push forward for the Orange, setting up a field goal from the 41 yard line to make it 20-7 Syracuse.
On the next Demon Deacon drive, it looked as if the offense had things back under control as they picked up three first downs in a row. But as the Deacs were on the Syracuse 32-yard line, Cameron was sacked and his fumble was recovered by Micah Robinson who rushed for 51 yards to pick up the touchdown and make it 27-7 for the Orange.
Back on offense, the Deacs weren't able to do much and when Syracuse took over, they would pick up another field goal, this time from 27 yards out, to go up 30-7. To make matters worse, Cameron would get hurt, forcing a third quarterback to come in for Wake, in the form of Kevin Sousa.
All three quarterbacks would take several hits during the game and Sousa, the third and final QB, was at a distinct disadvantage as he has spent the past few weeks only practicing as a part of the scout team. With a limited number of offensive plays under his belt, Sousa was only able to call a handful of different plays and the Deacs would spend the entire fourth quarter on rushing, not passing plays.
A relatively uneventful fourth quarter stopped the metaphorical bleeding for the Deacs as they fell to the Orange 30-7. Syracuse seemed to hold the edge in almost every statistical category, with 199-71 in rushing yards and 171-99 passing yards, while Wake gave up one fumble and an interception, both of which Syracuse would return for touchdowns.
Despite appearing to be a fairly even matchup, as both teams were 2-4 coming into the game, the Demon Deacons exposed their offensive weaknesses and picked up their most disappointing loss of the season. Next up, they'll host the Eagles of Boston College on Saturday, October 25.