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Couldn't be Happier: Deacs Defeat Cadets

Bart takes a look at the Deacs win over Army, who will be starting on Saturday against Indiana, and the all important Kinal Kount!

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Deacs were able to end a two-year road losing skid by going into West Point and
knocking off Jeff Monken’s Army team on a last second field goal by Mike Weaver. This
was truly a back and forth game and the 17-14 score is a pretty accurate depiction of
what happened out on the field. Both teams struggled at times to get their offenses
moving and at times, particularly in the first half, the game was just a struggle in
general.


I was fortunate enough to make the trip down from Boston to catch this game live and it
was certainly worth it. With a noon kick there’s not a lot of tailgating time, but we (a
group which included myself and our own Jake of BloggerSoDear acclaim) were on
campus by 9 and able to imbibe in a few (adult) beverages before taking in the game. If
you haven’t taken in a game at West Point I can’t recommend it enough. Tucked away
in the Hudson Valley and positioned on the water, Michie Stadium provides a beautiful
venue for the Army football team and it is certainly worth a trip to New York to catch a
game in the future.


It was a beautiful day for football and was around 80 degrees at kickoff but I was still
impressed by the number of Wake fans who made the trip. I’m always bad at guessing
attendance, but it appeared that Wake had anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 fans at the
game which is a generally a great turnout for the Deacs on the road although given the
presence of Demon Deacons in the New York area it does make a little bit more sense.

For most of the first half though it appeared that the visitors might go home unhappy as
Army took a 7-0 lead into the break. Honestly, the first half was one of the worst halves
of football I’ve ever seen in person. It wasn’t just that Wake was losing, although that
obviously didn’t help, but more so how poorly both teams were playing. The teams
combined for just 214 yards in the first half and despite the Deacs moving the ball for 71
yards over the first two possessions, Wake really just wasn’t able to get much going.
Obviously this leads to the elephant in the room: the injury to John Wolford. Wolford
injured his lower leg and suffered an apparent ankle injury on the first drive of the game.


He was able to come back in but didn’t appear to be able to put much weight on it and
after throwing an interception to end the Deacs’ third drive never returned to the game.
Wolford’s injury could have spelled disaster for Wake with freshman quarterback
Kendall Hinton pressed into action, but fortunately Hinton had a little bit of game time
experience from the opener against Elon and despite a bit of a slow start (Wake punted
on his first four possessions after Wolford was out for good while gaining only 26 yards)
was able to get his feet wet and perform pretty well for Coach Clawson.


Wolford and Hinton truly have contrasting styles which likely forced Army to chuck their
original defensive strategy out the window. While Wolford may not be the slowest guy to
ever strap on the pads, he is certainly considered a pocket passer with solid arm
strength and pretty good accuracy. The offense with Wolford generally seems to feature
a mixture of shorter passes and out routes designed to get the ball out quickly in order
to alleviate pressure from the somewhat porous offensive line.


Hinton on the other hand brings a legitimate running threat to the quarterback position,
clearly evidenced by his 17 rushes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Where Wolford
excels with pinpoint accuracy on short and intermediate routes, Hinton struggles at
times but with Hinton able to get out of the pocket and gain some yardage when the
front five inevitably breaks down the offense has a totally new look to it.

Yes Hinton struggled with his touch on some short and intermediate routes, but he
looked great on a few deep throws and the offense really looked to be playing to his
strengths: get out of the pocket to gain some yards on the ground or find some guys
over the top. Each of these provided critical in the second half as Wake knotted the
game up at seven in the third quarter on the back of a 51 yard bomb over the top to KJ
Brent (who made a great catch on a pass which looked like it may have been tipped by
the corner) and two touchdown runs from Hinton once the Deacs got inside the red
zone.

Hinton finished the day going 15 for 27 for 159 yards and two interceptions. He was
brought down twice in the backfield and as discussed above ran for two scores. One
more thing of note was Hinton’s ability to guide the Deacs down the field to set up the
game-winning field goal despite a couple of interceptions on the two previous
possessions directly leading to Army tying up the game.


A lot of freshmen might have let that get them down and been unable to put together a
drive but Hinton guided the Deacs 64 yards from their own seven with 2:35 left in the
game to set Weaver up for the game-winning boot. This drive included a critical (and
impressive) 22 yard run from Isaiah Robinson but also featured Hinton picking up a first
down on the ground on a third and nine, and connecting with tight end Cam Serigne on
a 17 yard route to put the Deacs inside Army territory. This last drive from Hinton really
impressed me regardless of the competition.


Wake’s defense put up a really good effort against a triple option offense which at times
has hurt the Deacs in the past. Army only threw the ball three times, completing two of
the passes, but was only able to gain 240 total yards of offense despite having the ball
for nearly five more minutes than Wake. All-in-all the Black Knights gained 186 yards on
54 rushes, giving Wake an impressive day of only allowing 3.4 yards per rush.


Somehow Wake still hasn’t forced a turnover yet this year through three games which is
seemingly ridiculous. While the Deacs did force a couple of fumbles, they weren’t able
to recover them although they almost certainly should have pounced on one ball where
a Wake defender simply failed to pick the ball up which is exactly why you’re coached to
fall on top of it and cover up - especially if you’re a big boy. If Wake wants to compete in the ACC this year they’re going to need to force some interceptions and land on at least some of the inevitable fumbles which will occur throughout conference play.

With a lot of coverage on BSD devoted this week to looking at Hinton and his
performance last week as well as moving forward I won’t dwell too much on the
quarterback issue beyond a couple of observations. First off Wolford didn’t look to be
able to put much weight on his ankle and as soon as we saw him come back out with
the boot on, Jake and I both speculated that he would be out for a few weeks. That
remains to be seen, but if he can’t go Hinton will obviously get the start in his absence.
Second, I believe that Wolford should sit until he’s absolutely healthy so that the injury
doesn’t get any worse (if it can). Wake isn’t likely to make much noise this year and
there’s really no need for Wolford to get hurt long-term trying to come back before he’s
ready.


That being said, when Wolford is healthy he is clearly still at the top of the pecking order
for quarterbacks. Hinton can come in and run a few packages to mix things up on
defense (particularly given how poor the offensive line is and will likely continue to be
since he can get out of some rushes/blitzes Wolford simply cannot) but I don’t envision
Hinton unseating Wolford this season if they’re both healthy. While Hinton is explosive
on the ground and brings a lot of excitement as well as a wrinkle to the position, he still
needs a lot of work on his accuracy and that was evident as he missed a few throws to
the sideline that Wolford consistently drops in to his receivers.


I expect Wolford to be out this week, but that’s purely speculation on my behalf. If
Hinton gets the start I expect to see a mixture of short passes to get his confidence up
with some designed option-esque plays and a few opportunities for Hinton to air it deep
to keep the defense from creeping up too much.


Well this has been a bit wordy so far so I’ll move on the highly anticipated #KinalKount.

Despite the low volume of punts against Army in the past, Kinal was actually called into
more action than I expected him to be and it was great to be in the stands to watch my
hero boom a few punts deep. I also want to point out that Kinal’s hold on Weaver’s field
goal appeared to be perfect and that’s a skill which will almost certainly be on the radar
of NFL scouts who might be watching Kinal’s all-around performances.


Kinal booted the ball five times for a total of 217 yards, pinning the Black Knights inside
the 20 on four punts and with only one touchback. I may be way off on this but I do
believe that the touchback was his first since the last game of his sophomore season - a
ridiculously impressive statistic for the senior


Career Punts through the 2014 Season (plus three games): 276 (39 games)
Punts Needed to Break Ryan Quigley’s ACC Record of 284: 9
Punts Needed to Break Nick Harris’ NCAA Record of 322: 47
Kinal’s Yearly Average: 84.92
Quigley’s Yearly Average: 71.0
Harris’ Yearly Average: 80.5
Kinal’s Current Final Pace: 340


Wake plays Indiana and FSU the next two weeks and I think it’s somewhat likely that
Kinal will break the ACC record for punts in a career against the Seminoles in two
weeks. I’m glad that he will have an opportunity to break this record in front of the
adoring fans in Winston-Salem and my only regret is that I won’t be there to see it.

BUT WAIT. If Kinal is unable to boom a total of nine punts over two games, Kinal will be up
here on October 10th in Boston against BC going for the record - a game I’ll be going to.
SO THERE IS HOPE THAT I CAN SEE THE ACC RECORD FALL.

Although I will admit that it’s probably better for his overall pace that he have at least 10 punts in the next two
games (note that I don’t pull for punts, just provide objective pace analysis on how many
punts Kinal is likely to have based on our offense) it would be pretty epic to see him
break the all-time record in person.


So Homecoming is this week and unfortunately Indiana is apparently coming to "kick
our ass." Let me just say again that I can’t stop laughing about the fact that a random
non-conference opponent that we haven’t played in years (in....ever?) is going to talk
trash in the summer about how badly they will beat us, but nonetheless Wake needs to
take Indiana seriously in this one as the Hoosiers do have a relatively high-powered
offense even with the lose of Tevin Coleman in the offseason to the NFL.
IU enters this one 3-0 but they haven’t looked like world beaters and haven’t really
played anybody so far. Their three wins are against Southern Illinois, Florida
International, and Western Kentucky and came by a combined 18 points - needing
overtime to beat WKU and surviving against SIU by only one point in the opener.


The Hoosiers offense has put up at least 36 points in ever game, but their defense has
also struggled at times giving up 47, 22, and 35 over the first three contests. Wake on
the other hand has been absolutely solid on defense and ranks in the top 10 in the
nation in total defense with three games against Elon, Syracuse, and Army. It goes
without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that if Wake wants to have any shot at a bowl this
year, then they need to take care of business and move to 3-1 following the contest with
the Hoosiers.


With questions about Wolford’s health and the starter situation in flux Vegas seemingly
hasn’t put a line out on this one yet but I would guess it will be something like Indiana
-4. This may move to around 6 or 7 by kickoff if Hinton gets the nod (as I expect). I
imagine the over/under may be around 52-54 or so, but I’m no expert on gambling
(merely at speculating).


While I don’t think Indiana is going to "kick our ass" in the least, I do think Indiana is
probably a little bit better than Wake especially if Hinton is the QB. He may be
impressive and I’ll eat crow, but I could see Hinton struggling against a team who is
likely a little bit better than an Army squad who will likely end up with only one or two
wins this season.


I’m going to take Indiana 27-23 but I do think this will be a back and forth game and
even though neither team is a world beater, should be a pretty entertaining game.


That’s all I’ve got for this week, if there’s anything people want me to focus on more in
these articles let me know in the comments section. I’m long winded at times and I’m
sure this article provided considerably more words than anyone should ever be
expected to read about Wake Forest football in one sitting but congratulations on
making it to the end - now your task is to let us know what you think! Drop us a line
below and tell us what you agree with, disagree with, or have to say about Wake football
(or any other topic related to Wake). And as always, go Deacs!