The votes are in, and the Deac of the Week for the win over NC State is linebacker Demetrius Kemp. Congratulations!
You can tell that fans are excited about this season because we had over 500 votes cast this week. Kemp finished with 55% of those votes. Kemp made tackles all over the field, racking up 8 tackles (T-4th on the team) including 7 solo (T-2nd). More importantly, though, he changed the game by forcing two turnovers - including what will go down as the play of the game.
With about four minutes to go in the third, NC State started a drive at their 37 yard line, trailing Wake by three. On the very first play of the drive, Kemp chased down Jaylen Samuels from behind and popped the ball out, with Paris Black recovering.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as on the very next play one of the NC State defensive backs made an incredible play to intercept a ball that was mishandled by the intended receiver. NC State then marched down the field for a game-tying touchdown.
After the third Tabari Hines touchdown of the day and a blocked extra point gave the Deacs a 6 point lead, NC State put together a methodical drive that gained 71 yards in just over six minutes. With under two minutes left in the game, NC State had a first down at Wake’s 11 yard line, needing just a touchdown (and a successful extra point) to win.
Ryan Finley threw a pass that was caught by WR Emeka Emezie on the 6 yard line at the numbers. Emezie used some fancy footwork to elude Ja’Sir Taylor and Luke Masterson, and I assumed the play (and possibly Wake’s chances in the game) to be over.
Kemp didn’t write the play off, though. Despite having been positioned at the 9 yard line just past the far hash marks when the pass was thrown, he covered (by my math) about 25 yards to meet Emezie just before the goal line and slap the ball loose. He recovered the ball in the end zone for a Wake touchback, helping secure the Deacs’ seventh win of the season. The first angle below shows the hustle it took for Kemp to make the play, and the third gives the best look at how he forced the fumble.
Kemp’s performance also earned him ACC linebacker of the week.
Congratulations again the Demetrius Kemp, and let’s finish the season strong this week against Duke!