So, we’re 4-3 through 7 games. As painful as it is to say, we are probably a few better drives away from being 6-1. We had both Florida State and Georgia Tech on the ropes, and we just couldn’t finish the job. We’ve got 5 games left to get two wins, and in many ways it’s an uphill battle. We have the toughest remaining schedule in the country. Many of our guys are banged up. There are very obvious weaknesses in the team. But I still don’t think all is lost by any stretch of the imagination. So I’m going to talk about three categories: 5 things we know, 5 burning questions, and 5 things to keep in mind about our foes.
5 Things We Know
- Our defensive front is really good. Honestly, our secondary is better than it was last year, but there’s no question that the true beasts of the defense are the front seven, largely led by Duke Ejiofor. I know we’re facing a lot of good teams, but I have no doubts that our defensive front will continue to cause havoc for all of our foes.
- John Wolford has emerged as a senior leader on offense. So far this season, John has racked up 1199 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, and only 2 picks. For context, John has 40 career passing touchdowns, which means he’s accounted for a full 25% of his career touchdowns in half of one season. Not only that, John has tallied 327 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns rushing so far, both career highs for an individual year ,and again, this year isn’t over yet. I knew John was playing well, but I didn’t know it was that well.
- Greg Dortch is a freak. The freshman phenom has 43 grabs for 555 yards and 5 touchdowns,, and that’s not counting his impact on the return game To say that he is our best offensive playmaker is a complete understatement.
- The offense is too predictable sometimes, but we’re doing a good job taking care of the ball. Whatever else you might think of the offense, they’re +5 on the season in turnover margin, and that by no means is all a function of the defense. I mean, the fact that John only has two picks through seven games tells you a lot by itself.
- As good as our defense is, it’s mercurial. Wake Forest is one of the best teams in the nation in terms of forcing tackles for loss,, and yet the defense also gives up an infuriating number of big plays. It really feels like feast or famine.
Five Burning Questions
- How banged up are our linemen? Not only did we have some injuries on both fronts coming into the Georgia Tech game, and what’s worse, they accrued more injuries during the game. We’d better hope most of it isn’t serious, because if it is we could be in some real trouble.
- Can we limit big plays? On Saturday especially, we’re facing one of the biggest offensive threats in Louisville’s Lamar Jackson If we can’t limit him, it’s going to get really ugly, really fast. Only time will tell.
- Can we get Cam Serigne more involved in the offense? I know Cam has been doing major work in terms of blocking, but honestly sometimes it feels like his offensive abilities are all but forgotten. We need to see if we can get Cam more involved in short yardage situations. It really could make all the difference.
- Is one major upset in Wake’s future? I’m sorry, and maybe I’m naive, but while I know NC State is very good, I just can’t imagine them honestly being a top 15 squad. Combine that with the fact that NC State seems snakebit in Winston, and I really feel like we have a shot at knocking someone down a peg for the first time in a long time later this season.
- Where do we end up? It’s in the title, but there’s a reason for that I really don’t see us losing out, but I could see us ending up anywhere from 5-7 to 7-5. Really, I feel the same way I did before the season started, but the journey has been a little different than what I anticipated.
5 Things To Keep In Mind About Our Foes.
- Lamar Jackson IS Louisville. Lamar is absolutely incredible, there’s no question about that. But if Lamar is shut down, so is Louisville. I’m not saying we CAN necessarily shut him down on Saturday, but if we could, then we can very much win on Saturday.
- Syracuse has been coming on strong, but they have weaknesses we can exploit. Syracuse QB Eric Dungey has thrown 8 picks and taken 23 (!) sacks so far on the year. By comparison, John has only thrown 2 picks (one of which I recall really just being unlucky for John) and only taken 7 sacks. By the sounds of things, our defensive front might be very much able to wreak havoc on the Orange when that matchup comes around.
- Duke’s trajectory has largely mirrored our own, but is probably worse. Duke opened the season winning 4 straight in fairly dominant fashion, but they’ve dropped 4 straight, including pretty ugly losses to Pitt and UVA (UVA has been feasting on a soft schedule).
- In my opinion, NC State is one of college football’s biggest question marks. Again, I’m not trying to throw shade here, but State’s rise to top 15 is slightly suspect to me. They’ve beaten Marshall, Furman, won at FSU, Syracuse and Louisville at home, and won at Pitt. That win at FSU is impressive, but the rest of them don’t make me feel comfortable in saying the Pack is invulnerable in the way that a fully healthy Clemson used to seem. I’ll eat crow if they top the Irish.
- None of our foes are cupcakes, but I wouldn’t call them juggernauts either. With the possible exception of the surging Notre Dame Fighting Irish, I think we’ll be in all of our remaining contests with a puncher’s chance. We may not be favored but I don’t expect too many steep lines. Again, we’ll see how it shakes out.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments. Again, sorry for the unusual week. i anticipate a return to the normal 3U3D after Saturday’s game.
On to the next. Go Deacs.