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Three Up, Three Down: Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame

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A game in which the final score belied how close the game really was, Wake Forest's 28-7 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend was an agonizingly competitive outing that showed just how well the team is capable of playing...and how little they'll have to show for it.

Jon Durr/Getty Images

The Ups

Offensive Production...Mostly. Wake beat Notre Dame in total yardage 340-282 with 98 of Notre Dame's yards coming on a single play.  They won the first down battle 23-15.  They won time of possession by 11 minutes.  That's good stuff no matter how you slice it.

The Defense...Mostly. Wake forced five punts on the day and held the Irish to only one touchdown drive of 10 or more plays.  That says to me that while the defense gave up the occasional big play, they definitely did a good job in general of bending but not breaking, and if the offense had been able to put more points on the board, the Fighting Irish might really have been sweating before all was said and done.

Alexander Kinal: NCAA Legend. The #KinalKount is complete, with the Aussie phenom finally breaking the NCAA record for career punts.  I believe he already broke the record for punt yardage earlier this season.  What a phenomenal, underrated, underappreciated talent that guy is.  We'll miss him after this year, that's for sure.

The Downs

Red Zone Production. Twice, Wake Forest had the ball inside the Notre Dame 15 and came away with nothing.  A third time they had the ball well over midfield and also came away with nothing, for that matter.  That's just brutal, and is the kind of thing that's plagued the Deacs all season long.

Giving Notre Dame Easy Ones. A pick six and a 98 yard touchdown run made up for half of Notre Dame's scoring on the day.  Neither of those things should have happened.  The Fighting Irish didn't need any help from the Deacs, but we gave it to them anyway.

That Cortez Lewis Penalty. For the second time this year, the truly explosive freshman wide receiver had a truly boneheaded personal foul penalty that cost the team.  It was bad enough that Coach Clawson benched him for the entire second half.

Oh, and a fourth, just because I can...

PICK A DANG QUARTERBACK. Seriously, at this point I don't care if it's John Wolford (who kinda made me look like  fool for thinking he shouldn't ever start again because honestly he did a great job now that he's finally healthy) or Kendall Hinton but pick somebody and stick with them.  Or if you're going to run the two quarterback gimmick (which basically never works for anyone), do it better.  Kendall Hinton didn't even ATTEMPT a pass.  There was no mystery when Hinton was in the game.

The Bottom Line

The Deacs did a way better job than I would've ever expected, and for those saying that this was Wake football in a microcosm and it's all we'll ever see, you're forgetting that we're pulling in the best recruiting classes in school history and we have a proven program builder at the helm.  I'll give you this: the game was a microcosm of the season. The team played way better than anyone expected and with a couple different plays probably could've had a shot at winning, but unfortunate snafus in calling, decision-making and execution in an otherwise very solid performance left it a loss at the end of the day.  I still think we're on the right track, but if anyone is hurting, I sure don't blame them.

On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF