Extemely poor secondary play by Wake Forest, and an opportunistic Boston College offense led to the first loss of the year for the Demon Deacons in a high scoring 41-34 affair.
Boston College started pounding early with 3 consecutive runs and on a 3rd and 3, AJ Dillon broke loose through the tackles for a 45-yard TD run. The Deacs tried to answer back, but QB Sam Hartman forced a throw to WR Greg Dortch in double coverage that got ripped out of Dortch’s hands for an interception by Will Harris. Even though it seemed like Dortch had it as he went to the ground, those are the kind of risky throws that Hartman needs to be more cautious abou, in s rough start for the Demon Deacons.
Despite the early struggle, the offense moved the ball well to start the game. RB Matt Coulburn II and Dortch were heavily featured in the first two drives. However, miscues kept the Deacs from getting any points, as Hartman got intercepted and WR Scotty Washington dropped a crucial third-down catch.
The Deacs were almost in desperation mode, as they were about to punt for the third time, but on another miscue, this time by the Eagles, Cade Carney recovered a fumble by Boston College at the Eagles 13 yard line. A few plays later, Colburn pounded it in for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 apiece.
Boston College’s offensive game plan early, as expected, was built around heavy doses of Dillon. But overall, outside of Dillon’s 45-yard TD run and a beautiful spin move-run, Wake Forest did a good job at containing the Eagles’ start running back during the first quarter.
As the game continued into the second quarter, so did the Deacs’ offensive miscues. On another forced throw, Hartman gave an easy interception to CB Hamp Cheevers. So much was being said about the defense being able to play up to the level of the offense, but during the first half the offense was the one struggling. Of course what we should all keep in mind that this is Hartman’s first game against an ACC defense, but on both throws, especially the second one, it was obvious defenders presence in coverage interferes with Hartman and what he could do.
On the Eagle’s ensuing drive, they took advantage of the turnover and marched downfield for a 27-yard TD to go up 14-7.
However, the lead wouldn’t last much longer thanks to another Eagles’ special teams miscue. On another Eagles’ punt, Demetrius Kemp blocked the punt that rolled backwards to be recovered by Malik Grate for a touchdown, That was Boston College’s third punt blocked this season.
After the Eagles’ miscue, the Deacs finally gained some rhythm on offense again. On a 4th and 3 in the redzone, WR Sage Surratt caught what should’ve been another interception and took the ball down to the Eagles’ four in a 32-yard reception. Two plays later, Surratt caught his first career touchdown putting the Deacs up 21-14.
The Eagles wasted no time in tying the game back again. They moved quickly on a 3 play, 78 yard drive that ended on a 35-yard play-action TD pass by QB Anthony Brown to WR Kobay White. The whole drive lasted 67 seconds. All tied entering halftime.
Overall, both teams had some struggles offensively, partly due to the good defensive performance by both squads. The Eagles took advantage of a pair of turnovers by Hartman to seize control of the game. The Deacs, on the other hand, benefited from Boston College’s special team turnovers.
Boston College took the lead again on a perfect drive by Brown. The Eagles found themselves in third and long twice, but on both occasions Brown found a open receiver downfield. The big plays continued to plague this Wake Forest secondary.
For the Eagles the passing game was paying off, but for Wake Forest it was basically nonexistent to start the second half. Coach Clawson called a series of conservative runs and when the Deacs were forced to pass, Sam Hartman looked totally out of rhythm with some misplaced throws.
However, even with a bad passing game, the Deacs were able to move the ball with a sequence of 8 runs by Carney and Hartman to take the team to the Eagles’ redzone. Yet, the Deacs left the field empty-handed on a turnover-on-downs, after failing to connect with Dortch on a 4th and 2.
On the Eagles’ ensuing drive, they scored again on another big passing play, this time, on a 71-yard TD pass to Jeff Smith to put the Eagles up 34-24 after a failed PAT.
Wake Forest reduced the lead after a dramatic drive that had the Deacs converting a crucial 4th and 3 to keep the game within reach. A couple plays later they kicked a 23-yard FG to put the Deacs down by 7.
Unfortunately for Wake Forest, the defense got burnt once again on a long pass on third down, this time to WR Ben Glines for 40 yards and the touchdown to put Boston College up 41-27.
The Deacs had a push for a late comeback with a TD catch by Jack Freudenthal, but it was too late and the final score was 41-34 for the Eagles.
Ultimately, it was a game that could have gone either way. Both teams had some bright spots and miscues as well. The hope for the Demon Deacons is that this game can serve as a huge lesson for freshman QB Sam Hartman.
On defense the secondary looked awful today. You can’t allow 6 third down conversions in the fourth quarter and expect to have a chance to win the game. This one will sting the Deacs for the next couple of days. They now move to an overall record of 2-1 (0-1 in the ACC).
The Demon Deacons will now turn their attention to their matchup against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sept. 22 at BB&T Field.