The Deacs dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, leading to a lopsided 481-94 edge in total yards and 29-8 lead in first downs.
The Wake Forest defense completely destroyed the much ballyhooed Delaware running game, which came into the contest averaging 335 yards per game on the ground and rushed for 279 yards last season against ACC Coastal Champion North Carolina.
Wake held Delaware to just 56 yards rushing on 22 attempts. That’s the worst performance offensively since being held to 33 yards rushing and 64 total yards in the 2014 season-opener against Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, the Deacs rushed for 302 yards, a team high output in the Clawson era. Though Delaware quickly shifted to heavy blitz packages when John Wolford took over for the injured Kendall Hinton at quarterback, the Deacs adjusted their offensive gameplan and continued to successfully attack.
The two Wake Forest first-half turnovers made the game much closer than it had any right to be.
The John Wolford first-quarter interception led to a two-play, 10-yard ‘drive’ for Delaware that ended in a 6-yard touchdown pass to pull the Blue Hens to within 10-7.
Then the Tyler Bell second-quarter fumble led to another short field for Delaware. This time they capitalized on a four-play, 19-yard ‘drive’ that culminated with a Thomas Jefferson 10-yard run that once again brought the Blue Hens to within a field goal at 17-14. At that moment in time, Delaware has just two first downs, but had scored 14 pts.
Injuries. The buzzwords around Wake Forest fall camp were competition and depth. Thankfully for the Deacs, those attributes have proven to be true, as they’ve put their depth to the test early and often this season.
The Wake Forest fan base has grown to close to a fever pitch in excitement after watching Kendall Hinton and Cade Carney lead the Deacs to a potentially program-transformational win on the road against Duke, only to see both those stars fall before another quarter of football was complete.
And it’s not just those two skills guys that have bit with the injury bug. Add to that list Shelldon Lewinson, Justin Herron, Amari Henderson, Josh Banks, Tyler Bell, Jaboree Williams, Willie Yarbary, Jessie Bates and Cameron Glenn who are players that have missed some portion of the first three contests. Sadly, I’m sure I’ve left SOMEONE off that exhaustive list.
Most teams would generally be pleased to have a bye week seven games into the season, but this is a team that desperately needs to get healthy. They’re entering a stretch of three consecutive games where they likely won’t be either a prohibitive favorite or underdog: At 2-0 Indiana, at 2-1 North Carolina State, hosting 1-2 Syracuse.
In the hunt for bowl eligibility there needs to be one or more wins in that group of three. How much will injuries inhibit those chances? That’s the question in front of the Deacs now.