After missing both the Florida State and Clemson games, Cade Carney returned to action for the Demon Deacons as Wake Forest traveled to Atlanta’s Bobby Dodd Stadium to face Georgia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Carney finished the game with 19 carries for 92 yards, a season high, although his production, like Wake Forest’s success on Saturday, was juxtaposed by a tale of two halves.
Seventy of Carney’s 92 yards came in the first half as the sophomore averaged seven yards on 10 carries in the game’s first 30 minutes.
The Demon Deacon offense, with credit to Carney’s effort, was exceptional in the first half as quarterback John Wolford returned from his one-game absence to account for three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground.
Wake Forest led by as much as 11 after Wolford took his third touchdown of the day in from one yard out with 1:02 left in the half. The Deacs, however, shifted some of the momentum heading into the locker room as the defense committed a personal foul that allowed the Jackets to kick a field goal as the second quarter expired.
In the third and fourth quarters Carney took nine carries and was held to just 22 yards, or 2.4 yards per carry. The overall success of the Demon Deacon offense mirrored this loss in production as Wolford could only lead his team to three second half points.
Wake Forest’s defense also struggled in the second half as first half runs of 15 yards turned into 49, 42 and 70-yard touchdown runs.
The margin for error is very small. If one of is not on our gaps or in the right place, they are going to take advantage,” said Duke Ejofor, who had three sacks that evening for the Deacs.
Fatigue of defending the triple option set in for the Wake Forest defense and the Yellow Jackets took advantage of the exhausted unit to extend drives and put the game out of reach.
Georgia Tech outscored the Deacs 25-3 in the second half and pulled away with a 38-24 victory in its homecoming matchup.
“This game boiled down to three things,” said coach Clawson after the game.
“We made some really foolish penalties. We gave them 10 points off of personal fouls. Our offense’s inability to convert third and short … and at times [we] did not execute the defense.”
Clawson’s frustration was evident, but it was Wolford who seemed to take the loss the hardest.
“We just got to come back harder,” said Wolford. “I’m just sick right now.”
“We just need to keep pushing. The guys can’t get discouraged.”
Wake Forest will host Louisville on Saturday in what will be the first meeting between the two programs since the Wakeyleak scandal last November. The Demon Deacons will need to prepare for the reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and find a way to keep its defense off the field, especially in the first half.
The Georgia Tech offense was on the field for nearly twice the amount of time the Wake Forest offense was on the field in the first half, which could be reason for the Deacs becoming fatigued in the third and fourth quarters.
If Wake Forest can balance the time of possession and find a way to win to limit big plays from Jackson, the Deacs could walk away with a revenge that goes beyond the loss last season, but rather transcends the boundary of ethics that was crossed by members of the Cardinals a year ago.