I haven’t been feeling great, so I’m not sure I have much of a recap in me, but I’m not sure the game needs much of one. The Deacs started out rough, trailing 21-10, before rattling off a rather insane 35 unanswered points. The defense definitely had issues, but they made flash plays where necessary, and the offense positively hummed. Sam Hartman shone in his final home game, going off for 331 yards and 4 touchdowns on 30-43 passing. Hartman also added another 44 yards on the ground. Justice Ellison, Christian Turner, and Quinton Cooley helped to gash the defense on the ground, each averaging over 4 YPC. The Deacs were 8-15 on third down, and finally finished another game positive in turnover margin, winning 1-0, the lone turnover being an essentially game-sealing pick six.
The game wasn’t without its flaws. The defense obviously gave up 35 points, the secondary had long stretches that were brutally bad, and yet again there was a situation in the game where the Deacs went for it on fourth down instead of taking an easy field goal that Matthew Dennis has proven himself more than capable of reliably banging through. That said though, after Syracuse’s initial 21 points, the rest came in the epitome of garbage time, and the defense stepped up huge during that 35-0 scoring explosion that sealed the game for Wake Forest. I’m obviously super glad that the Deacs won, and now it’s within the realm of possibility for sure that Wake Forest will finish the season 9-4, and would’ve been a couple different decisions away from yet another ten win season if that ends up being the case.
Let’s be honest. In many ways, this has been something of a disappointing season. But it speaks volumes of Dave Clawson, his staff, and the amazingly dedicated players that a Wake Forest football season could be considered disappointing with 7-9 wins and, however briefly, a #10 ranking for the second season in a row. Wake Forest went to 5 bowl games in 12 seasons under Jim Grobe, certainly a respectable mark for a program being built...and yet they’re going to their sixth IN A ROW under Dave Clawson, with plenty of reason to believe the streak can continue, considering Coach Clawson repeatedly bests himself in pulling in the most talented recruiting classes in school history year after year, and he obviously has an ability to coach up players.
There’s two more games left this season, but thank you to Sam Hartman and the rest of these seniors for a truly incredible run. They’ve rewritten the record books. I think several of them, including Sam Hartman and A.T. Perry, will quite probably play on Sundays as well, continuing to build the rapidly increasing pedigree of Deacs in the NFL (side note: I still half count Kenneth Walker III among that group, and I wonder if he’d do the same). For the first time in several weeks, good stuff.
On to the next. Go Deacs.