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Couldn't Be Happier - Deacs Fall Short to Noles

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Deacs take FSU to the wire but ultimately fall short, Kinal breaks records, #TheRivalry looms large this week.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Well I think the FSU game went about how we all expected. While yardage was somewhat close at 359-327, the first down picture was 27-14, one team had the ball for ten more minutes than the other, and due to the difference in turnovers (2 to 0) the score was maybe a little closer than we thought it might be. WAIT...Wake outgained the Noles? Wake moved the ball for 13 more first downs? Wake dominated the time of possession battle? And Wake lost by a meager 24-16 score despite failing to produce a takeaway for the fifth consecutive game and turning it over twice?

Indeed this was not the game that most Wake fans anticipated might occur as top-fifteen ranked Florida State came into town for a visit on a less-than-beautiful Saturday at BB&T Field. Behind a very solid and consistent effort by freshman Kendall Hinton, the Deacs appeared at many times to be the better of the two teams on the field especially following a leg injury to Seminole star running back Dalvin Cook.

After getting the ball first and grinding nearly five minutes off the game clock, the Wake defense showed that they were going to be able to at least keep the Noles in front of them forcing a three and out on FSU's first possession (albeit after a drop on second down which was assuredly going to go for a first). Wake was able to mostly keep the FSU offense in check with 94 of the Seminoles' 327 yards coming on one explosive run up the gut by Cook before he went out later in the quarter for the rest of the game.

Twice Wake trailed by double digits, but both times they were able to bounce back with an answer on offense - successfully moving the ball downfield before stalling multiple times once they got inside the FSU 30. It wasn't until a Hinton pass was intercepted in the end zone with just over 20 seconds left that Wake was out of the game for good but with somewhat of a moral victory losing by only eight in a game in which FSU was favored by 20.

Clawson and company deserve a round of applause for the game plan which featured a mobile yet still inexperienced quarterback and an offensive line which had shown an inability to block anyone short of Elon through the first four games of the year. The offensive line honestly put together one of the better performances I remember from a Wake front five in years - even (or maybe especially?) dating back to the last couple years of the Grobe/Lobo tenure.

While the yards per rush average came in at 3.9 and may not look great, it can't be understated how much of a difference it makes to the offense in general to be able to successfully run the ball up the gut. I mean this is a team who I believe ran the ball one single time in the first half with a running back against Indiana and it it came on the first drive of the game. The rushing attempts are somewhat inflated due to Hinton taking off on some pass plays and the offense having some designed runs for the QB, but being able to run the ball 36 times is a pretty good indicator that at least there was SOME success up front which enabled the coaching staff to feel comfortable dialing up some handoffs between the tackles.

Even though the defense somehow still has not forced a turnover through five games, it ranks 20th in the nation in total defense giving up only 301.2 yards per contest. If you were wondering, and as avid readers of Couldn't Be Happier I know each and everyone of you were absolutely curious on this point, not only is Wake not the only team yet to force a turnover this season, they're not even the only team in the conference to not force one (Virginia has also failed to record a single takeaway). On the flip side though, these are the only two teams without a takeaway. In fact every other team in the country has at least two takeaways on the year and 99 of the nation's 128 FBS teams have recorded at least five takeaways.

Brandon Chubb has been absolutely everywhere on the field this year and leads the team with 41 tackles through five contests and I've really been impressed with not only his ability to close down a play, but also with the type of leadership he appears to be showing to the other guys on the defensive side of the ball. It seems that he's one of the first players to come over and get hyped up when someone else makes a big play and he's constantly a focal point for announcers when discussing the chemistry of the defense on broadcasts. KEEP FEEDING BIG FELLA.

Hinton showed a ton of poise on the offensive side of the ball and was able to get the ball to the monster that is Yes We Cam Serigne across the middle of the field. Cam won ACC receiver of the week by hauling in ten catches for 83 yards and a touchdown which cut the lead to 14-10 just before the break. Helping out Cam on the receiving end was freshman Cortez Lewis who put up a pretty big game himself with eight catches for 70 yards and he really looks to be the type of guy Wake can rely on moving forward to develop into a big-time playmaker on the outside. It's early yet for both these guys but I think they both have some NFL potential, particularly Cam at the tight end position - he has GREAT hands.

Of course it wouldn't be a weekly installment of this article without a reflection upon the biggest moment of the past week. It's one of the achievements we've all been waiting for and I know each and everyone one of you has constantly been checking the Twitter handle @KinalKount for updates throughout the game (if you don't follow him I have to say it's an absolute must while the game is ongoing). But boys and girls, we've made it: Alex Kinal finally became the all-time record holder for most career punts in ACC history passing Ryan Quigley of Boston College's record of 284.

Although he really didn't have the type of banner day we've come to expect from Kinal when he faces off against FSU (at least in terms of volume) he was still able to get off four punts and secure the ACC record once and for all. Our hats are off to you Alex and we anticipate that with seven games left on the season you still have plenty of ammo left in that leg to impress us all.

Let's check in on the #KinalKount and see where he stands at this juncture:

Career Punts through the 2014 season (plus five games): 287 (41 games)
Punts Needed to break Ryan Quigley's ACC Record of 284: 0 (broke it against FSU)
Punts Needed to break Nick Harris' NCAA Record of 322: 36
Kinal's Yearly Average: 84
Quigley's Yearly Average: 71.0
Harris' Yearly Average: 80.5
Kinal's Current Final Pace: 336 punts

Kinal needs 36 punts over his final seven games of the year, but actually wouldn't reach the record if he maintains his current yearly pace of five punts per contest. I do expect he will reach the record though as the Deacs still have a few tough games remaining in conference play, as well as a game left against Notre Dame. Another record Kinal is apparently about to break (although I'll admit I haven't been tracking it closely) is the record for most yards in a career by a punter currently held by Brian Morton of Duke at 12,000. If my math is right Kinal is currently at 11,870 yards so he just needs 130 more yards to hold both the ACC career record for punts and punting yards. Needless to say - Kinal should be able to get 130 more yards. Hell he may do it in just two punts.

So after a relatively tough loss to FSU, Wake will turn to face Boston College on the road this week. BC fell to Duke 9-7 last week but has an absolutely dominant defense which could give Wake a decent amount of trouble. BC opened as a 9.5 point favorite which seems like a lot, but I suppose this means they would only be favored by 3.5 in Winston or a touchdown on a neutral field. I still like the Deacs to cover and I really like the game to stay relatively low scoring.

I'll take BC winning this one 17-16 but I do think that if Hinton is still the guy going he could cause some trouble on the ground for the Eagles. Wolford looked like he could play if he had to but really only appeared to be around 60-70% and came out for a couple plays while Hinton was down in order to preserve a redshirt for freshman Kyle Kearns. I think Hinton likely gets the nod on Saturday and continues to play until Wolford is absolutely back to 100% and even think look to see Hinton get some time on the field in certain packages to keep opposing defenses on their feet.

If you're in the Boston area or are going to be at the game, let me know if you're interested. I live up here and will be out there tailgating Saturday afternoon - likely with some of the BC Interruption crew. Also this is my shameless plug for them: go check them out at the link right there (or at BCInterruption.com). They're a great group of guys and despite the longstanding tradition of #TheRivalry, credit has to be given where it's due and these guys know and love their Boston College sports, so give them some clicks and learn some about what it means to be an Eagle - whatever the hell that means.

As always if you have any questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, secrets, or musings let us know in the comments below or shoot one of us an email. Think Wake will win this weekend? Let us know. Think Wake will get destroyed? Chime in. Have no idea but just want to get some blog cred with the BSD crew - definitely post below. And as always, go Deacs.