You could still see a degree of shock in the eyes of the coordinators when they came out of the locker room to address the press after a last-second field goal gave Wake Forest a come-from-behind 30-28 win in Winston-Salem, NC, tonight.
They are pros and had been at that unpleasant place before, both as coaches and as players, but it doesn't make it any easier no matter how many times you get beaten by a buzzer beater when victory seemed so close.
DC Tyrone Nix was blunt and to the point.
You could tell the sting of the way the game ended, with his unit on the field as the winning field goal sailed through the uprights, was not setting well with the ultra-competitive mentor.
"We didn't make the plays we needed to at the end," said a naturally-dejected Nix. "When you don't make plays that you need to win, then you lose. It's simple."
Nix made a brilliant blitz call late in the game and FS Kendrick Lewis had a clean shot at Wake QB Riley Skinner. Lewis overran the play, Skinner got free and the Rebs were called for a critical pass interference that set up the winning FG.
"Calls don't mean much when they don't work," he continued. "The positive I can draw from this game is that we didn't quit and we fought until the end. It did not go our way today, but it was not because of any effort or grit issues. We did not lay down or tuck our tails, even when we got down."
Nix felt the Rebs did a good job with Wake Forest's run game, but Skinner threw for 267 yards and no picks on the day.
"I don't think they got but 80 yards on the ground on something like 30 carries. That's a good job, but they hurt us up top, mostly with a controlled passing game," Nix added.
Peria Jerry got his first action of the season and Tyrone said that was good to see.
"I don't know what his production was, but he's one of our leaders and you could feel his leadership out there and on the sidelines," Nix stated.
Tyrone mixed in a lot of players in the rotation and did not feel fatigue or conditioning was a factor, even though Wake held a time of possession edge of nearly four minutes.
"Our third down percentage (5-17) was much better and we did a nice job in some areas, but when it came down to the end, we just didn't make the big plays we needed to win the game," he closed.
OC Kent Austin said Jevan Snead was much better this week than he was in the opener against Memphis.
Snead passed for 253 yards and 4 TDs and rushed for another 16 yards on crucial plays.
"He was a lot better this week. I was really pleased with the way he finished the game after throwing an interception in the third quarter," Austin noted. "Wake's defense did a good job in the third quarter - they are a good football team, but we responded and came back twice. I was proud of that."
The last drive for the Rebel offense, an 80-yarder to take a late lead, was something Austin was proud of out of the Rebel offense.
"It showed a level of resiliency I wasn't sure we had at this point in the season," he said. "That is something we can build on. You can learn to get better from both negative and positive experiences and we had both in this game. We just need to learn how to get better and learn how to finish.
"I think we have a chance to have a pretty good football team."
Austin said the Rebs never did really get the running game going like he had hoped, but the overall offensvie grade, without the benefit of seeing the film, was "OK."
"We had some spots in the run game where things clicked, but Wake played us well. They are physical and they fit their gaps nearly every play. That's what good teams do," he closed. "Overall, we were just OK. We had a chance to put more points on the board. We overthrew an open deep receiver again that I'd like to have back.
"The bottom line, though, is that it is our job to outscore the other team and we didn't do that."
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