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Monday Morning Hot Takes: Syracuse

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Time to overreact again!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Wake Forest at Boston College Photo by Malcolm Hope/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

That was a stressful game to watch, but the Deacs found a way to move to 6-0 for the first time since 1944. The Deacs remain the only undefeated team in the ACC and sit atop the conference in sole possession of 1st place with a 4-0 conference record. As always, it’s time to completely overreact to everything that happened on Saturday, and it was quite the chaotic day in college football. Please keep in mind that these are just the opinions of a fan who doesn’t really know that much about the sport of football and likes to complain.

The defense is not good. Ok, so maybe I way overreacted after the defense shutdown Florida State and kept Virginia from getting into the end zone, because this defense cannot stop the run at all. After getting absolutely gashed in the run game by the Louisville Cardinals, the Wake Forest defense responded by giving up 354 yards on 6.1 yards per carry to the Syracuse offense, which is, quite frankly, inexcusable. The Deacs looked totally unprepared against the Orange, and were unable to stop Garrett Shrader (178 yards) and Sean Tucker (153 yards) from destroying them in the run game, despite the fact that it was known that they were going to be 95% of the Syracuse offense coming into the game. It was just chunk play after chunk play after chunk play on the ground all day long. Watching Syracuse march 94 yards down the field in 2 minutes while completing just 3 passes was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever sat through as a sports fan. The Deacs are so awful at stopping the run right now that I am terrified by the upcoming matchups against the Army triple option and Matteo Durant at Duke. Hopefully the bye week will change something.

Sam Hartman has it. Whatever “it” is, Sam Hartman has it. If we’re being honest, Hartman had a pretty rough first half in the Syracuse game. He missed several throws by underthrowing his receiver, something he has done quite a few times this season. He also lofted a ball into triple coverage that was easily intercepted with 5 minutes left in the first half while the Deacs trailed 21-10. At the end of the day, none of that mattered. With basically no run game to speak of, Hartman fueled the comeback in the second half, finishing with 330 yards passing and 4 total touchdowns. Hartman seems unfazed by big moments and delivers in the clutch whenever Wake Forest needs it, including the 22 yard TD bomb to AT Perry to win the game. He’s starting to get that Riley Skinner feel to him where I just believe that at the end of the game, he’s going to get it done. Pretty impressive for a guy playing on just his second season of eligibility.

The game should have been over after the fumble. The Deacs had the ball 1st and 10 on the Syracuse 43 with 2:37 remaining in the game. That should have been it. All Wake needed was one first down and they could have either run out the clock or put the game away with a field goal. Instead, the Deacs went with the classic, predictable, and conservative run-run-pass play calling. Shockingly, it resulted in a 2 yard drive that used up all of 21 seconds and a punt. I can’t figure out why a team with one of the best offenses in the ACC would want to play conservatively and put the game in the hands of a defense that has given up over 500 yards in three straight games. That decision nearly handed us our first loss. I mean “Hello? You play to win the game!”

Nothing comes close to college football Saturday (except maybe the NCAA Tournament). What a week it was in college football. From Oklahoma coming back from a 28-7 deficit to win the Red River Shootout to Texas A&M upsetting #1 Alabama and rushing the field, Saturday had some of the best games I can remember in a single week in a long time. Even just in the ACC we got: Wake vs Syracuse OT walk off TD, Virginia Tech vs Notre Dame walk off field goal, UVA massive comeback to beat Louisville after trailing 30-13 with 1 minute left in the 3rd quarter, and even Georgia Tech vs Duke came down to the final minute. Every game in the conference yesterday was electric except for the UNC-FSU game. I watched football on Saturday from noon to midnight and there was never a shortage of exciting games on TV—the only thing that can beat that is the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, it is officially basketball season in Chapel Hill. The preseason top 10 North Carolina Tar Heels are now 3-3 overall after losing to a one win Florida State team. It’s gotten so bad that Mack is now blaming the media for hyping the team up too much in the preseason. He didn’t seem to mind back in August.

Alabama is still making the playoff. I don’t trust Iowa to finish the season undefeated and there is no doubt in my mind that a 1 loss Alabama team that wins the SEC is getting in over an undefeated Cincinnati anyways. I’d honestly say there’s a chance the committee might even put a 2 loss Alabama team in before Cincinnati.

There are some of my takes from week 6 of college football. Feel free to drop some of yours in the comments.