In a game that Wake Forest mostly had under control the whole way, it was unexpectedly the defense that shined. The beastly Khalil Herbert, who has been averaging nearly 10 YPC for Virginia Tech, was held to 4.6 YPC by the Wake Forest defense. Boogie Basham got another TFL, extending his streak to 23 games with at least one tackle behind the line. That is absolutely insane. Even crazier, however, is the story of walk-on Nick Andersen. This kid, in this game alone had a team high 11 tackles, 9 solo, and THREE INTERCEPTIONS. How exactly does he not have a scholarship? Either way, he needs one right now. The offense wasn’t without production, though. Christian Beal-Smith tallied 129 yards on 13 carries, an average of 9.9 YPC, and Kenneth Walker III, while having a more subdued 66 yards on 23 carries, had an absolutely incredible effort in his one rushing touchdown. Sam Hartman contributed an efficient 110 yards on 12/17 passing, one touchdown through the air, and another on the ground. The offense was atrocious on third down, going 3-14. but they were also pleasantly aggressive, going 3-3 on fourth down throughout the contest.
Wake Forest had a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and never relinquished the lead. The defense gave up plenty of yards. but largely tightened up when it counted, including two red zone picks from Nick Andersen and Boogie’s one TFL coming at a key point that led to a missed field goal for the Hokies in an extremely high pressure situation. I will say this. I think the offense should stop running the Wildcat outside the red zone, even though Christian Beal-Smith and Kenneth Walker III is probably one of the best backfield one-two punches in the ACC. Also, penalties were still more of a problem than usual for Wake Forest, the Deacs tallying 6-79, but that was nothing compared to the Hokies. Virginia Tech racked up 10 penalties for 112 yards, including an absolute meltdown from Jarrod Hewitt, who was ejected from the game for a targeting shot against Sam Hartman and then accrued another 15 yard personal foul on top of it AFTER the targeting was confirmed, losing his mind yelling at the Wake Forest bench as he was practically dragged to the locker room after the ejection.
This is an absolutely huge win, and as far as I’m concerned, makes the year no matter what else might happen. The Deacs are now 3-2 with a win over a ranked team, and one of those losses was a drubbing at the hands of the killdozer that is Clemson. I’m not going to remember this season for a ton football related, but I’ll say right now that Dave Clawson continues to prove himself to be an amazing coach and program builder. To say today’s performance was a pleasant surprise to me is an absolute understatement. Let’s see if the Deacs can make this yet another winning season despite a brutal schedule and unexpected circumstances. I wouldn’t exactly bet on it, but before today, I’d never have expected Wake Forest to get the best of Virginia Tech either, so shows what I know.
On to the next. Go Deacs.