"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

NC State dismantles Wake Forest on Senior Day

Wolfpack blows out Demon Deacons 26-6 in home finale
Bella Parolini
Ivan Mora punts the football away to NC State, one of seven times the Wake Forest offense punted.

An emotionally-laden game with bowl aspirations on the line should have resulted in a do-or-die, hair-on-fire performance by Wake Forest. Unfortunantly, this did not come through.

Wake Forest (4-6, 1-6) never led, and, quite frankly, never looked like they belonged in the same stratosphere with NC State (7-3, 4-2). In all four quarters, the Demon Deacons were outplayed by the Wolfpack. This was a game tape worth burning. 

“I just want to apologize to our fanbase and students,” said Head Coach Dave Clawson after the game. “We were flat, we had no energy, and that is 100 percent on me.”

A serious lack of physicality defined Saturday’s game on a sleepy afternoon at Allegacy Federal Credit Union Stadium. The offense that had shown flashes last week against Duke was completely comatose until a garbage-time touchdown snag by freshman receiver Deuce Alexander (1 rec, 19 yards, TD). The ground game was non-existent. Wake Forest ran the ball 18 times for a whopping total of seven yards. The first three drives all resulted in three-and-outs, which was why Mitch Griffis (2-3, 19 yards, 5 carries, -9 yards) was pulled after just over a quarter. 

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His backup Michael Kern (14-26, 137 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) didn’t do much better over a larger sample size. In the fourth quarter, when the game was decided, the offense strung together a strong drive led by young wide receivers Horatio Fields (3 recs, 31 yards), Wesley Grimes (1 rec, 9 yards) and the aforementioned Alexander. However, the two-point try was promptly intercepted by NC State linebacker Jaylon Scott and returned 100 yards to add two points to the Wolfpack’s total. 

On the defensive side of the ball, it was pretty clear what the result would be after just the first play. The Wolpack ran a reverse through Kevin Concepion (3 rec, 19 yards, 5 carries, 85 yards) for 65 yards, and a touchdown pass from Brennan Armstrong (12-17, 111 yards, 1 TD) to Julian Gray (1 rec, 20 yards, 1 TD) two plays later set the tone for the rest of the game. 

NC State was particularly dominant running the ball. The Wolfpack ran the ball 50 times for a whopping 286 yards, for an average of 5.4 yards per carry, to go along with two rushing touchdowns. The Wolfpack ground game was sponsored by quarterback Armstrong’s 15 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown. Armstrong’s running performance was particularly damning considering there were multiple instances of NC State facing long third downs, but Armstrong ripped off back-breaking runs to move the chains and generate chunk plays.

That was not even a competitive football game. We’re not a very good football team right now. I don’t know how else to say it. We’re not very good.

— Dave Clawson, Head Football Coach

NC State also operated two methodical touchdown drives in the second quarter, where they punched in one-yard runs with Armstrong and Delbert Mimms III, giving the Wolfpack a 21-0 lead going into halftime. NC State’s offense slowed down in the second half, only registering three points off of a Brayden Narveson (1-3) 45-yard field goal in the third quarter. It didn’t matter, as NC State’s second-half gameplan of chewing clock put the game to bed.

If you thought the Demon Deacon performance was lackluster, Clawson would be the first person to agree with you.

“I’ve got to do some soul searching and look at our team,” Clawson said. “This is two games at home in a row — against Florida State and NC State. They are both two teams we’ve had a lot of success against the last few years. We were basically non-competitive against those two programs.”

He continued: “That was not even a competitive football game. We’re not a very good football team right now. I don’t know how else to say it. We’re not very good.”

Wake Forest travels up to South Bend, Ind. next Saturday, Nov. 17 to take on Notre Dame (7-3) and former quarterback Sam Hartman at 3:30 p.m.

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