Charles Dickens perhaps wrote it best in A Tale of Two Cities when he said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Dickens' work in 1859 aptly described the Wake Forest offense on Saturday afternoon at BB&T Field. The Demon Deacons managed to generate just 19 total plays in the first half for 6, yes 6, yards. The offense managed just 1 first down in the first half that was not by a Boston College defensive penalty, and Boston College's offense had 213 yards, 14 first downs, an 18:33 to 11:27 advantage in time of possession, and, most importantly, a 17-0 halftime lead.
The third quarter was much better in terms of statistics. The Deacs had 127 yards of total offense, held the ball for over 11 minutes, limited Boston College to just 15 yards, but only could cut the deficit by 3 points. The third quarter also ended with what appeared to be a roughing the passer call against Boston College after Wolford threw a shovel pass to Isaiah Robinson. Head Coach Dave Clawson was screaming for the BC player to be ejected. It was a bit of a bang-bang play after the release, but the BC player hit Wolford in the head/neck area and led with the forearm. I don't know if it's an ejection, but it was ridiculous that the penalty was picked up. I love the fact that Clawson is defending his players, and it's such a breath of fresh air to see some animation on the sidelines again. His protest actually helped, because Boston College was charged with a roughing the pass call later in the game. I also love the decision-making by Clawson to go for it on 4th down on that drive, even though they didn't convert.
The fourth quarter started as poorly as possible. Wake Forest did not convert on the 4th down attempt, and then Boston College decimated our secondary and had a 3-play 81 yard touchdown drive. In true Boston College fashion, the PAT was blocked by Tylor Harris.
The final 13:46 of the game was the best stretch Wake Forest has played all season. It would have been very easy to give up. After all, the team had lost 4 straight, and only had 1 offensive touchdown since September 20th. Wake Forest, however, showed tremendous resiliency and drove down the field on a 15-play, 75 yard touchdown drive. They then forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, recovered the fumble (no Boston College player was even close to recovering) and then Isaiah Robinson capped off a 15-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Wake Forest defense forced to punt after 5 minutes. Wake got the ball and hit E.J. Scott for 27 yards, on what was a beautiful throw by John Wolford and great job of protection by the offensive line. The next play, however, was fatal as Wolford threw his only interception of the day. Wake's defense could not stop Boston College on the next drive, and the Eagles ran out the clock.
ACC football is results-driven, but there were a tremendous amount of positive takeaways from that second half. In addition to the intangibles such as resiliency that Wake Forest showed, that was by far the best offensive half of the season. Boston College has a legitimate top 20 defense in the country, and Wake moved the ball very well against them.
The Deacs will now have a week-and-a-half to prepare for a Clemson team coming off a pedestrian performance against Syracuse. The Tigers are much more limited offensively with Cole Stoudt at quarterback, so I fully expect it to be a competitive game. Wake Forest is getting better, and Coach Clawson is going to take our program places if we give him time. Go Deacs!