Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports
Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports

Football: Wake Forest embarrassed by Wolfpack

“We’re just not at a level where we can spot anybody a 28-point lead.”

The understatement of the year may have come from Wake Forest head football coach Dave Clawson on Tuesday, Oct. 27, when he was asked to discuss the abysmal first quarter that Wake Forest had against N.C. State on Saturday.

After giving up 322 yards and four touchdowns, each from a play of over 50 yards, in the first quarter alone, the game that was being played at BB&T Field was effectively over with 45 minutes left to play.

The game finished 35-17, but the scoreboard didn’t tell the full story of the matchup. Wake Forest never truly looked like they could come back from the tremendous deficit, and Clawson echoed this after the game.

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“It was a 12 o’clock kickoff today, and our football team showed up at 12:45,” Clawson said. “You would have thought we were the team off the bye week.”

Wake Forest had only 20 yards in the first quarter, but outscored the Wolfpack 17-7 over the final three quarters.

Despite the complete lack of offensive punch and defensive strength in the first quarter, Clawson acknowledged the improvement in his team’s effort down the stretch.

“Once we stepped out there, we played well the last three quarters,” Clawson said. “I certainly give our players credit for playing hard the last 45 minutes of the game.”

The scoring for N.C. State started early and often, as they imposed their explosive offense on a weak Wake Forest secondary throughout the first quarter.

Just 53 seconds into the game, N.C. State quarterback Jacoby Brisset found receiver Maurice Powell with a 59-yard strike that set the tone for the opening 15 minutes. After a quick Wake Forest three-and-out, N.C. State runningback Matthew Dayes broke through the young Wake Forest defensive line and evaded the secondary for an 85-yard rush to put the Wolfpack up 14-0.

Brisset threw for another 58-yard touchdown and Hayes took off for a 57-yarder to complete the first quarter scoring and end Wake Forest’s hope of coming back.

“They did a good job of getting the ball in space and making our guys tackle. Two weeks in a row their backs have made our safeties miss,” Clawson said. “When your safeties miss, it’s not good. When your safeties miss, you’re going to give up 60 and 70-yard plays, the lights are going to go off, fireworks are going off, and the band is playing.”

Wake Forest generated their offense through Kendall Hinton, who replaced starting quarterback John Wolford in the first half.

“In the first 10 plays we threw the ball last week, John got hit 10 times,” Clawson said. “Part of that is poor protection, part of that is we didn’t get open, and part of it is John couldn’t move as well as he should be able to move.”

“That’s why I pulled him. I’m not going to say that he lost the starting job over that, but the reality is for John to be an effective quarterback, we’ve got to protect better and get open better. When we can’t do that, Kendall is probably the better option for us.”

Hinton finally put Wake Forest on the board halfway through the second quarter with a 69-yard touchdown run, adding some spark to the offense and cutting the deficit to 21.

The run, in which Hinton split the Wolfpack defense and juked two safeties, represented Wake Forest’s second longest rush of the season, behind only Wolford’s 70-yarder against Elon in the season opener.

After a 38-yard Mike Weaver field goal in the third quarter that cut the deficit to 18, N.C. State returned a 52-yard punt that capped their scoring for the day and put them up 35-10.

Soon after, a one-yard Hinton quarterback rush gave the Deacons another touchdown on the day, but the scoring would end there.

Wake Forest will take on Louisville on Friday, Oct. 30 on ESPN at BB&T field. They’ll have to improve their tackling in the secondary if they want to defeat a formidable Louisville squad.

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