Well the first game of the 2021 football season is in the books and the Deacs had absolutely no trouble taking down the Old Dominion Monarchs 42-10. There is no such thing as a bad win, but now its time to absolutely overreact to everything we saw on Friday night and drop some steaming hot takes from the game and the rest of the college football landscape. Please keep in mind that these are just the opinion of a fan who doesn’t really know that much about the sport of football, and because Wake won this game in such a blowout, pretty much all hot takes are going to be negative by definition.
First and foremost, the wildcat sucks. Contrary to what Dennis Hopper thinks, the wildcat [behind the wheel] should absolutely slow down, so much so that it ceases to exist. At least twice that I can remember, Wake snapped the ball directly to a running back on 4th down, and shockingly, both times it failed. Christian Beal-Smith did score a touchdown from the wildcat, but only because Blake Whiteheart threw him into the end zone after he got stuffed yet again at the line of scrimmage. The goal line offense isn’t good, but I don’t think this is going to be the answer.
The passing game didn’t look very good. Clearly anyone would be happy with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, right? Not so fast my friend. The passing game had some moments, but overall I didn’t think the Deacs looked very sharp. Hartman missed several throws and at times it looked like he couldn’t make up his mind where to go with the ball. At the end of the day, Wake was just faster, taller, and stronger, than anyone in the Monarch secondary, so it didn’t really matter.
The defense has to be better. The defense held Old Dominion to 272 total yards and just 10 points, which sounds really good. Unfortunately, the Monarchs’ offense was so bad it’s pretty hard to tell if that had anything to do with the defense at all. Frankly, I’m not convinced ODU could complete a pass if the defense wasn’t even on the field. The Monarchs still managed to open up some big holes for the running backs in the 1st quarter, where it seemed like the defensive line got kind of blown off the ball—Old Dominion running back Elijah Davis finished the game averaging 5.8 yards per carry, which is far too many for a team of this caliber. Also, Wake finished the game with just 2 sacks (and 1 was a botched snap so I’m not sure that even counts) in 38 passing attempts for Old Dominion. The Deacs are going to need to get more pressure on ACC QB’s to have a great season. Let’s put a pin in this one and reassess after we play FSU.
Special Teams had more negatives than positives. I’m sure the one thing everyone is going to remember from Friday night’s game is Ja’Sir Taylor’s 99 yard kick off return for a touchdown, and for good reason. That being said, the Deacs still had a free kick out of bounds (and several more that got close), gave up a 40 yard return, and had a punt blocked during the game. Those are things that are easy to overcome against an opponent like Old Dominion—not so much against ACC opponents. Wake will need to continue to make improvements in this area.
Kenneth Walker is winning the Heisman. Kenneth Walker III obliterated Northwestern with 264 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. Michigan State’s schedule doesn’t look extremely difficult so there’s a chance he just keeps putting up massive numbers. Letting him get out of Winston was probably a mistake.
The Tar Heels are frauds. I fell for the “UNC is going to the playoffs” media hype. I am sorry.
Vanderbilt is early 2000s Duke level of bad. Vandy lost at home to FCS ETSU by 20 points. Will they win a game this year? Is it too late to get back into that series we had against them?
There are my hot takes from the first week of college football. Feel free to yell at me now.