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Three Up, Three Down, Week 3: Army

Well it ended up making our spirits soar, but Deacs everywhere watched the Army encounter with bated breath. Frankly speaking, it was probably way closer than it should've been, but a win is a win, and there were a whole lot of ups and a whole lot of downs. Let's talk about some, shall we?

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

MIKE WEAVER.  ALEX KINAL. Seriously, that kick,into the wind and off of a bad snap?  That was some ridiculously clutch special teams play.  Also worth noting Alex Kinal had a 55-yard punt this game.  Our team's best player may just be our punter, but darn it, he earns that distinction.

Kendall Hinton. The freshman QB filled in admirably for the unfortunately injured John Wolford, ending with 15/27 completions for 159 yards and two unfortunate INTs, but he also tacked on 101 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 17 carries.  It's also worth noting Hinton had a pretty absurd 51-yard long bomb to K.J. Brent that showed off his cannon of an arm.  Whether or not Hinton is called to starting duty again, he showed some pretty major ability and I know I for one will rest a lot easier knowing we have that kind of backup waiting in the wings.

Defense. We forced no turnovers (except one on downs) but the stout Wake D handled the option attack rather admirably, holding Army to 5-14 on third downs (many of those short yardage), 0-1 on fourth down, and holding the Black Knights to a paltry (especially for a triple option attack) 3.4 yards per rush.  That is by far the best defensive performance anyone has had against Army this season.

The Downs

Three Turnovers. The fact that we still won being -3 in the turnover margin, especially on the road against a service academy, is pretty ridiculous.  Not going to get too many wins like that, and on the one hand I liked that it showed so much mental toughness.  On the other hand, though, I'm rather unsettled that we ended up in that situation in the first place.

Offensive "Scheduling". For as good as our third down defense was, Army was almost as good, holding us to 6-14 on third down.  More importantly, however, the Deacs found themselves in third and long situations far too often;  A fair amount of that comes down to the last thing I'll mention.

Continued O-Line Woes. I know they're inexperienced, probably one of the most inexperienced in the country, but our offensive line continues to really struggle, both in the run game and in pass protection.  I do feel like it's getting a bit better, as our rushing attack had a 4.9 YPC average in the run game, but they still need to keep working, especially if we want to hang with the teams we're about to run into.

The Bottom Line

Just a good, solid, team win.  I'm not exactly screaming it from the mountaintops, but Coach Clawson's first road win couldn't have come at a better time, and I continue to be encouraged by what seems to be Coach Clawson's continued path to rebuilding the program.  Get well soon, John.  On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF