Wake Forest dominated in the first half, but an 89 yard pass play late in the 3rd quarter proved to be enough for the Syracuse Orange to come out on top 30-17.
The Deacs went into the half with a 17-13 lead, but the game completely changed after a completed pass to Cortez Lewis in the third quarter. After the play Lewis picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty when he pushed a Syracuse player on the sideline.
That inevitably led to a punt to the 11 yard line. On the next play, freshman quarterback Eric Dungey connected with Brisly Estime for an 89 yard touchdown pass.
Eric Dungey had an extremely impressive performance for the Orange, especially in the second half, finishing with 221 yards on just 8/13 completions. He also gained 36 yards on 12 rushes.
John Wolford threw for a career high 373 yards on 30/44 passing, but also threw three interceptions that changed the complexity of the game.
He also had a really bad pick-six that gave Syracuse a 13-7 lead in the second quarter on a pretty inexcusable throw.
There were a lot of bright spots in the game, particularly the skill-set of the wide receivers on the team. KJ Brent, the transfer from South Carolina had a huge first half with 6 catches for 86 yards and a TD. Also, the duo of Chuck Wade and Tabari Hines is going to be amazingly fun to watch for the next four years. They both have unreal speed and great hands to go with it.
Wade caught 5 balls for 82 yards, while Hines caught 7 for 77.
Running the football continued to be a big problem against non-FBS opponents, as the Deacs managed just 46 yards on 32 carries.
This is a very different feeling from last year because Wake Forest was very clearly the better team for two and a half quarters of play. They managed the clock well, threw the ball successfully, and Wolford did a phenomenal job of avoiding the front seven pressure of Syracuse.
The 89 yard TD really took the wind out of the sails and the Deacs could not recover from the swift change in momentum.
On an aside, the offensive line is a little bit better than last year, but it's almost unfathomable to me that there could be a line as Wake Forest has been two years and counting. Starting two freshmen is never easy, but it should never EVER come to this point as a program. Hard to overstate how disappointed I am at the state of the offensive line. Wolford did nearly everything he could to avoid the pressure, but it wears you down.
Despite the loss I am quite motivated for the future. This is a game that got away and escalated in a hurry for Coach Clawson and crew, but it gives me a lot of hope for next week at Army, as well as homecoming vs. Indiana. 3-1 is certainly attainable, and I think there are a lot of positives to look at moving into next week.