The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-1, 1-1) went into Raleigh looking for their first win at Carter-Finely Stadium since 2006, but were unable to emerge victorious. The North Carolina State Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0) got off to a hot start and led 17-0 after the 1st quarter. Wake cut the deficit to 14 at halftime, and eventually 10 in the second half, but ultimately lost 33-16.
NC State stormed out of the gate last year in Winston-Salem and led 28-0 after one. They weren’t quite as explosive as they were a year ago, but they still followed a similar blueprint. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley looked like an NFL quarterback on Saturday afternoon, and completed 23 of 36 passing attempts for 300 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Unfortunately, Wake’s secondary has made too many quarterbacks look very good. Finley’s play helped NC State out gain Wake Forest by 125 yards (527 vs. 352).
John Wolford completed 25 of 41 passes for 263 yards and 1 touchdown. He left the game in the 4th quarter, presumably so he didn’t take anymore hits from State’s stout front four. They were ferocious all afternoon, and caused a lot of problems for Wake’s offensive line. Wake mostly abandoned the running game in this one due to a combination of the score and State’s front. Wake finished with just 21 attempts for 69 yards. Wake Forest had been running about 3/5ths to 2/3rd of the time so far this season, so this was a very different game plan for the Demon Deacons.
State completely lacked discipline in this game, and finished with 13 penalties for 144 yards, compared to Wake’s 3 penalties for 38 yards. Still, because of State’s ability to generate yards in chunks they were able to win this one fairly easily. NC State’s Matthew Dayes finished with a number of those big plays on the ground, and finished with 24 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 29 yards.
Wake Forest’s first and only touchdown came on a phenomenal play by John Wolford late in the 3rd quarter. He did his best Houdini impression, as he escaped pressure and rolled out to hit Tabari Hines for a 9-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 10. Wake forced State into a 3rd and 21 to start the 4th quarter, but inexplicably allowed the Wolfpack to convert and earn a new series of downs. Wake was able to get a stop and drive down the field, but came up a yard short on a 4th down conversion attempt inside of NC State territory. State took over and drove down the field for a touchdown to go up 17 with just under 6 minutes to go, and it was academic from there.
For Wake, the Deacs are still in excellent shape to make a bowl game, and just have to refocus to take on a Syracuse team who will be capable of putting up points in bunches, but they can also give up plenty of their own.
NC State will host Notre Dame next week. Wake Forest will host Syracuse next Saturday at 7 p.m. at BB&T Field. We will have full coverage of that game here at Blogger So Dear.