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Wake Forest Defeats Duke 24-14: What I Learned Rewatching the Game

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It’s always nice rewatching a game when you know that your team is going to win.

Wake Forest v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

I thought that it would be a helpful exercise to rewatch Wake Forest’s 24-14 victory over Duke. So much goes on during any given play, that it’s nearly impossible to pick up everything at once. I found that I was able to pay greater attention to line play, and pick up on some intricacies that I typically don’t catch the first time watching a game. It’ll be a bit of stream of consciousness, but I think it should be fairly insightful.

  • John Wolford made a nice throw to Cortez Lewis on the first drive of the game. It wasn’t the easiest catch in the world, but probably should have been caught.
  • The absence of Jaboree Williams hurt Wake on Duke’s opening drive. Daniel Jones was able to scramble a number of times for extra yards, and I believe Williams wouldn’t have allowed them.
  • Watson was thrown at a lot, and he got beat pretty badly when he picked up the pass interference call. He clearly interfered with his hands, and made it worse by not turning around to find the ball.
  • I thought that Marquel Lee made a bad read on Duke’s touchdown on 4th and goal. Paris Black picked up the back, but Lee hesitated just enough to give Jones enough separation to score.
  • Hinton took a sack on the next drive, and there was very good pass protection. He has to get rid of that earlier.
  • Very poor punt coverage on the first two punts.
  • Duke Ejiofor made an outstanding play to get into the backfield and force the fumble on the backwards pass. Credit to Cameron Glenn for being aware enough to grab it, and also making the additional effort to go for the scoop and score. That’s exactly the way to pick up the ball, and not simply fall on it.
  • I like the option action that involved Hinton, Carney, and Hines. That could be effective play call moving forward. That trio has a good mixture of size and strength.
  • Wolford looked very uncomfortable throwing on the run. Not that anyone is comfortable to throwing on the run/running away from defenders, but he looked especially uncomfortable.
  • Hinton’s 32-yard run with 9 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter is the reason he should be the starter. Those are bonus plays for the offense, where he just makes positive things happen when the play breaks down. His ability to scramble is probably worth several first downs per game.
Wake Forest v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
  • Cortez Lewis did an excellent job of winning a one-on-one matchup, and Hinton connected with him for a very nice 35-yard jump ball.
  • Cade Carney’s first touchdown run was spectacular. That wasn’t coaching, that was just talent. He took an initial hit, spun off of it, then trucked another defender on the way to the endzone. There’s also little doubt in my mind that the presence of Hinton aids whichever running back is in the game.
  • Our backs, Cade Carney and Matt Colburn, are doing a nice job of showing patience and reading which holes are about to open. It was good to see Tyler Bell get into the mix late. Bell was Wake’s leading rusher last season, so this is further proof of the added depth that Wake has at the position.
  • I’m not sure that I agree with Clawson’s decision to not call a timeout with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Given that Wake had a few explosive plays in the first half, I think they could have used a timeout, forced Duke to attempt a field goal immediately, and then taken a few deep shots.
  • Special teams was so critical in this game. Duke’s field goal kicking was a major question mark headed into this season and this contest, and Wake partially won this game by executing field goals, and making this a two-score game late.
  • Wake’s start to the second half could not have been better. Wake got great pressure on Duke, got a sack, and then got a strip sack on 2nd down. Duke Ejiofor was a monster against the Blue Devils, and is living up to the preseason hype as being one of the breakout players nationally.
  • Carney’s second touchdown involved the offensive line doing its job by pushing the defense to the left, and then Carney made a linebacker miss one-on-one to get the score. Wake had to take advantage of a short field, and they did just that on that drive. When Wake gets into the redzone, they have to come away with 7, and they’ve done an excellent job of that so far this season.
  • Dionte Austin did not have his best game. He had a missed wrap up that allowed Anthony Nash to gain a 50+ yard play. He went to punch the ball out, and in doing so missed the opportunity to make the tackle. That play arguably cost Wake Forest 7 points.
  • Cade Carney’s 55-yard touchdown run was all about the blocking by the offensive line. Duke had 10 players in the box, but Wake’s offensive line and tight ends matched up man-to-man to generated excellent push. Ty Haworth did an excellent job of pulling from the left guard spot. Without the block, it’s very possible that Carney gets stopped near the line of scrimmage. He might have gotten the first down, but he certainly wasn’t calling ahead and making reservations for six.
Wake Forest v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
  • Wake’s front seven responded following the Carney touchdown with great pressure. They ran some interesting blitzes and were very effective. The front seven consistently beat the Duke offensive line, and made life very difficult on Daniel Jones. I haven’t been able to say this many (any?) times over the past several seasons, but Wake Forest won the battle of the trenches on both sides of the ball.
  • Duke went away from the running game in the second half, and replaced that with very short passes to the perimeter. I thought this was advantageous for Wake, as speed more than size is an advantage for the Deacs.
  • The decision to go for it on fourth down instead of attempting a 45+ yard field goal was interesting. When I watched the game live I was very puzzled, but Clawson’s reasoning involved the wind blowing in kicker Mike Weaver’s direction. I still think attempting the field goal would have been a better decision, but I respect Clawson’s thought process.
  • I hope that Justin Herron is okay. He left the game with an injury and did not return. After the game he was seen with crutches, but the extent of the injury is unknown. Hopefully he can return for the Indiana game, as offensive line is not Wake’s deepest position.
  • Kendall Hinton’s 62-yard bomb to Alex Bachman was the play of the game. The pocket was very good, and Hinton stepped up and delivered a laser. He had a window, but it was a tight one, and he made the throw. It put Wake Forest in field goal territory, and Mike Weaver took care of the rest. For the record, he called bank.
  • Wake got somewhat conservative on defensive playcalling on Duke’s final drive, but they generated a solid pass rush and forced Daniel Jones to throw on the run and Brad Watson stepped up and picked it off.