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Recap In Haiku: #21 Wake Forest Loses Heartbreaker To Clemson In 20T, 51-45

So. Much. Pain.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Wake Forest Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Can’t stop on third down

Lost when we played for OT

They hung in there, though

I can’t. I just can’t. This game was an exercise in frustration and agony. This program will never defeat Clemson as long as Dabo Swinney is coach. Wake Forest had EVERY opportunity to win this game, but gave up big play after big play on defense, usually on third and 6 or more (but also including a beyond infuriating successful 2 point conversion for Clemson), and the offense took just long enough to get rolling to give Clemson the cushion they needed. Sam Hartman was 20-29 for 337 yards and a school record 6 passing touchdowns, and DJ Uiagelelei was 26-41 for 371 and 5. Neither team had a turnover all day. The defense played hard, sure, but the size and strength of the Clemson offense was ultimately just too much. Wake Forest had the ball 4th and 5 at just over midfield with 39 seconds left in a tie game and punted, and in my estimation, that was the point at which the team folded. Rough playcalling on offense in the second overtime was the death knell, and Clemson escaped Winston-Salem to quite possibly resume their stranglehold on the soon to be defunct Atlantic Division.

As pained as I am, this game proved the legitimacy of this Wake Forest program after the near debacle against Liberty last week. It just sucks, because the whole thing felt inevitable, until it wasn’t, but then the football universe righted itself, because there are three unavoidable things in life. Death, taxes, and Wake Forest losing to Dabo Swinney. This game, near as I can tell, will either galvanize this group and prove to be a sign of another really good season, or be absolutely soul-crushing and beat Wake Forest more than once. Right now, I can’t tell you which one I think will happen. It hurts too much.

Also the Atlantic is the SEC West of the ACC. Wake Forest would absolutely roll the entire Coastal. I’m glad they’re doing away with divisions soon, because after a game like that, if the stars aligned, I wouldn’t rule out a rematch for the conference championship. Alas, divisions exist, and the best three teams in the conference are all in the same division. Ah well.

On to the next. Go Deacs.

EDIT: I just now realized I forgot the last line of the haiku, because of course I did.