Wake Forest vs. Syracuse: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Wake Forest came out with a very high scoring 64-43 victory over Syracuse on Saturday. The Deacons cleaned up their act in the second half and turned on jets on on the offensive side of the ball. This was a huge win for the Deacons to continue to prove what they are capable of, and more importantly, made the Demon Deacons bowl eligible once again. Wake Forest is currently projected to play in either the Belk Bowl in Charlotte or the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.

The Good

The first half of the game would usually be considered as a pretty good half for the Deacons by putting up 24 points against Syracuse. However, the second half was an even better performance as they put up 40 points to secure the win. At one point Wake Forest was projected a 7.5% chance of winning when Syracuse was up 38-21, but all that turned around with a 40 point half. Most would have counted Wake out at this point in the game, yet somehow Wake found a way. Coach Clawson said in the second half, “Our offense was just clicking. At halftime, I told our players you could stay down or look at this as an opportunity to be great. It’s one of the best wins we’ve had in the last four years.” The Deacons set yet another record this season by putting up a program high 734 yards against the Syracuse defense. On top of this 734 yard stat line, John Wolford and Cam Serigne both earned ACC weekly honors. Wolford was named the ACC quarterback of the week for the second time in three weeks by putting up a career-high 499 yards of total offense and accounting for 6 touchdowns, 3 of which he ran in. Senior Cam Serigne was named ACC receiver of the week after 7 catches for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Bad

Wake Forest’s defense in the first half was not providing a fighting chance for the team to come out and get the W. The defense averages 26.1 points against per game, but in the first half alone against Syracuse they let up a whopping 38 points. It’s hard to get a win if your defense gives up that many points, that quickly, especially when the Deacons have just 3 games where they have scored more than 38 points. Luckily, Wake Forest’s defense shut down Syracuse in the second half by completely turning around their level of play and only letting up just 5 points. Syracuse’s offense showed great depth in the first half as 5 different players scored touchdowns. Syracuse put up an impressive 417 yards in just the first half, which alone was more yards in one half then what the Demon Deacons are used to giving up in a full game.

The Ugly

It’s hard to catch a break in the ACC for the Demon Deacons, who play a lot of solid teams and some very good teams. The last stretch of the schedule for the Deacons is not going to be easy with home games against NC State and Duke. NC State is not going to be an easy game as the Wolfpack are 7-3 and are currently ranked 23rd in the nation. NC State’s offense puts up about 30 yards less on average compared to the Deacons, but their defense gives up 60 fewer yards on average. This may prove to be a difficult matchup for Wake because recently our offense is what has been keeping the team going, and if NC State comes out and shuts down Wake’s offense they may have an easy path to victory. Along with NC State, Wake will finish off the season with Duke at home. This is always a tough game for the Deacons, as Duke is one of our fiercest rivals. Trust in Head Coach Dave Clawson to inspire the players to keep the effort at a maximum for the final two games of the season, even though we have already clinched a bowl game.

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