DURHAM, N.C. — The Deacs (2-0, 1-0) dominated the line of scrimmage and rushed for 239 yards in a 24-14 win over Duke (1-1, 0-1) Saturday afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Wake Forest Dave Clawson answered questions after the victory.
On not going for a field goal early in the 4th quarter
Clawson: “The ball was on the 28-yard line. It was into the wind. It just felt like it was kind of a 50-yarder instead of a 45-yarder. I was really worried about a low kick getting blocked. I felt like we needed to get within the 25. We made a decision that if we crossed the 25, we were going to kick it. If it was outside the 25, we were going to go for it. I didn’t think that into the wind that it was going to be a high-percentage kick.”
On the importance of Mike Weaver kicking off into the end zone consistently and keeping DeVon Edward from having an opportunity to make plays
Clawson: “Even against the wind. Edwards is one of the best kick returners in the country. We told our kickoff team today that we were going to kick it to him and challenge them. We told Weaver to please kick it to the end zone so we don’t have to cover him. It’s worked out well. He did a great job, especially into the wind. When we took the 10-point lead and we kicked off to them, that was into the wind. He used a nice little 5-iron and had a nice little drop.”
On Brad Watson being thrown at often
Clawson: “(Anthony) Nash is a good player. Duke has a really good third-down offense. Last year, we felt we lost the game on third down against them. We played good first and second down defense, and last year they converted two-thirds of their 3rd downs it felt like. We really challenged our guys this year to not lose the game on third down. It kind of felt like we were again. On that first drive, they had I don’t know how many conversions. We were throwing the kitchen sink at them, in terms of blitzes and coverages. Nash is a good player. He’s big, athletic and has good hands. He’s a nice, big target. He’s tough to cover, and a lot of people are going to have a hard time covering him.”
On Watson’s interception late in the 4th quarter
Clawson: “That was big. If they score with two minutes left, they throw out their hands team and anything can happen. At that point, they still had the timeouts. The other thing I was happy about is we got the ball back and didn’t have to kick it to them. We haven’t been really good at that. That has not been a strength of ours, and was real encouraging.
“It was good to see Cade (Carney) get in a rhythm today. Even his touchdown run, he was physical, broke some tackles and pushed the pile. That’s what he’s going to do.”
On regrouping after the slow start
Clawson: “Our team is really invested, Les. You’ve been at every practice and know how hard our guys have worked. When a team invests as much as they have, they aren’t going to fall apart after one drive or one game. We were all disappointed with how we played offensively a week ago, and people asked about their confidence. You moved the ball all camp against a good defense. That didn’t suddenly disappear. Just go out, play and execute. We have playmakers that can make plays. Today we did it. That will be the weekly challenge. If we can make explosives, we can be a good offense. Anybody has a hard time moving the football and scoring if you don’t make explosive plays.”
On Kendall Hinton’s 62-yard pass to Alex Bachman
Clawson: “That was a pretty ball, wasn’t it. It was a laser. The interception to me was a fourth-down play. They brought the house. He’s got to get rid of it quicker, but that play didn’t really hurt us. That was a great throw (to Bachman). It was third down, with the game on the line. It was a one-score game and he laced that throw in there. In fairness to him, last week we didn’t give him enough time to throw it.”
On Duke Ejiofor’s performance
Clawson: “He’s a good player. When he’s on the field, we’re certainly a much better team when he’s on the field for us.”
On Kendall Hinton
Clawson: “To use Les’ jargon, he’s a dual-threat guy. That means he can do both. Kendall can throw it. He’s very athletic, and Kendall is a smart, heady football player. He really gave us a spark today.”
On the quarterback position moving forward
Clawson: “You had to ask, and for me to get up here after a game. . . that answer wouldn’t be fair to the parties involved. We’ll have to go back. Ask me Tuesday, and I’ll probably answer.”
On if this is his biggest win at Wake thus far
Clawson: “We’re 2-0. Now we have to work hard. The reward for winning a game like this is the next game becomes more important. Whether this is a turning point in our program, you can’t determine that now. I’d love at the end of the season to say it was, but there’s a lot of games and a lot of work ahead.”