"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Football avoids trainwreck, conducts comeback against Old Dominion

Demon Deacons overcome 17-point halftime deficit to remain undefeated on the season
Taylor Morin reels in one of two touchdowns of the day. Morin finished the game with six receptions for 112 yards and two scores (Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics).

Heading into the half with a three-possession lead over Wake Forest, it looked like Old Dominion would once again play spoiler to an ACC team. 

The quick-tempo ODU offense had more than double the yards of Wake Forest’s (277-127); the just-as-quick defense recorded three sacks, forced two fumbles, including an 80-yard scoop and score, intercepted one pass and dropped many others; the kicker missed two field goals, and yet the Monarchs were still up by 17. 

“We’re very lucky,” Head Coach Dave Clawson told his team during the break. “Guys, this is only a 17-point game. Really, the way we played, we should be down 28.”

It was already going to be tough to flush out the memories of the first half, let alone readjust and put enough points on the board, but Saturday wasn’t the first instance Clawson had been in a similar situation. Clawson reminded the team of the 2017 Demon Deacons, who fought back from a 17-point deficit to a 19-point victory over Syracuse, winning 64-43 on the road. 

Story continues below advertisement

“That team made a decision they were just going to play the next play,” Clawson said. “We just had to get into it, play by play by play and not panic. If we did that, we would give ourselves a chance to get back into the football game, and fortunately that happened.”

You can teach assignments, you can fix mistakes, but you can’t teach heart, you can’t teach toughness, you can’t teach balls, you can’t teach grit. You just have to have it, and we showed that today.

— Mitch Griffis, Quarterback

Fortunately for Clawson and the Demon Deacons, it happened again. 

“The great thing about this team in the face of adversity no one folded,” said wide receiver Taylor Morin. “Everyone stayed positive [and] optimistic.”

Even Mitch Griffis (25-for-42, 312 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT, 2 FUM), who was struggling at quarterback in the first half, was ready to go back out.

“We just didn’t quit,” Griffis said. “I played horrible, but I just kept telling the guys: don’t quit the fight.”

Immediately after the break, the Demon Deacons showed their resilience and orchestrated an eight-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a wide-open touchdown by Morin (6 rec, 112 yds, 2 TD). 

A quick defensive three-and-out put the ball right back in the hands of the Wake Forest offense ready to strike again, but nothing positive ensued. ODU’s pass rushers quickly disrupted the young Wake Forest offensive line, forcing Griffis to quickly get rid of the ball to avoid a sack. This hastily thrown floater was picked off by ODU’s LaMareon James and returned for a touchdown, his second of the day after the fumble return. 

That would be the last time the Monarchs scored as a Wake Forest defense led by linebacker Jacob Roberts (13 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 4 TFL) and defensive end Jasheen Davis (5 tackles, 3.0 sacks) forced four punts, a turnover on downs and a fumble on a strip sack — by the former, recovered by the latter — setting up the go-ahead score by wide receiver Jahmal Banks (9 rec, 81 yds, TD). 


Jasheen Davis lines up ready to rush the quarterback. Davis finished the game with five tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery (Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics).


The Wake Forest defense was able to get to ODU’s Grant Wilson (11-for-26, 233 yds, TD, INT) easily, sacking the quarterback a program-record of 10 times. After allowing three massive 40+ yard plays in the first half, the Demon Deacons smothered the Monarchs, limiting them to only 23 offensive yards in the second half.

“Our defense played their tails off,” Clawson said. “Other than the one play on the double move that we gave up in the first half, I thought our defense played great the whole game.”

Griffis echoed the praises for the defense, saying “got to give all the credit to those guys. The defense played their ass off.”

Afterwards, Clawson was proud of how his quarterback responded to the early struggles, and Morin said it was “no question [Griffis] would bounce back.” Griffis was still hard on himself — perhaps harder than the ODU pass rush — but ultimately proud of the determination his squad showed. 

“You can teach assignments, you can fix mistakes,” Griffis said, “but you can’t teach heart, you can’t teach toughness, you can’t teach balls, you can’t teach grit. You just have to have it, and we showed that today.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cooper Sullivan
Cooper Sullivan, Sports Editor
Cooper Sullivan is a senior from Winston-Salem majoring in Communication with double minors in Journalism and Art History. He enjoys long walks on the beach, dancing like no one is watching and "committing to the bit".

Comments (0)

All Old Gold & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *