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January 2, 2012Michael Campanaro now emerges as Wake Forest's go-to receiver, since redshirt junior Chris Givens decided to enter April's NFL Draft.
The redshirt sophomore finished one reception behind Givens for the team-lead with 73. Campanaro was second on the team in receiving yards with 833, and fourth in touchdown catches. He also completed 3-4 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and was intercepted once.
Talk about the game in general, you guys gave a great effort, but at the end of the day it was two big plays by their defense that was the difference. "Yeah it was a tough loss. I thought the defense came out and played well. They got us four turnovers. As an offense we've got to capitalize on those turnovers, but it's just tough anytime you come up short. I thought we were ready to play. The buzz in the locker room was great. It's just tough to send our seniors off with a loss, but hats off to Mississippi State. They deserved it. That's a good team over there."
They were getting a lot of pressure on Tanner Price too. Just talk about how big of an effect that had on the game. "They were bringing the heat. I thought the offensive line did a good job of picking up a lot of the blitzes, but we just have to be on the same page as far as blitz pickups like that. The defense did a lot of things to confuse us, but anytime [our] defense plays like they did we've got to put up more points than that."
What happened on that deep pass play when you were in the end-zone and fell down? "Yeah I was hand-touching with the DB. If I could have that play I would probably jump up into him, and maybe try and draw a flag, but that just comes with the game. You got to learn from it, and next time hopefully I'll do better at it."
How can you rectify 6-7 with the team you guys felt like you had this year? "Before this season reporters, all the magazines, they had us winning two games, bottom of the ACC. Anytime you get to a bowl game it's a success. It's going to be tough losing this senior class, but I think we also have a lot of young guys that are on this team and we can carry it into next year and make a run at that ACC title."
Last year you guys got blown out a lot, and this year you had a lot of close losses. Talk about the progression of the team from freshman class, all growing up together and going through those experiences. "My freshman year we did take a lot of tough losses and this year the coaching staff, one of the best coaching staffs in the country got us ready. I thought we had a really tight team and the bonds with those guys, so we came out and we fought in every game just about. To make it to the Music City Bowl was definitely a great accomplishment, but hats off to Mississippi State. They played a great game."
You weren't nervous out there man. Talk about how much fun you were having individually. "I had a lot of fun. Those cow bells were awesome. Anytime, growing up playing I always liked playing in other people's places. It definitely felt like an away game for us, but I just want to thank all of the Demon Deacon fans that made the trip. They were awesome. Our crowd was awesome out there tonight. [It was] a big-time atmosphere, big stage. It's always fun."
Did the cow bells have any impact on the game? "No, not at all. I didn't think so. It was just different I guess. It was cool."
It seems like the wide receiving corps continues to improve. Do you feel like that's accurate, and what can you attribute that too? "Definitely, I think you can attribute it straight to Coach [Lonnie] Galloway; he is a great coach and I'm so thankful to have him on the staff and to be coaching myself, [and] having Chris Givens, an All-ACC receiver to learn from. Next year we'll have T.D. [Terence Davis] and then there's a young freshman named Sherman Ragland who you guys will know about next year definitely, so I think receiving corps wise the sky's the limit with the talent and obviously the coaching in Coach Galloway."
Who would you say as far as Ragland would you compare him to on the team now or other athletes? "I think he's similar to Chris [Givens]. He's a burner. He can stretch the field. He's more physical though. He's a real physical receiver, which is fun."
If you could just go back through this season and talk about the highs and the lows, what the season was like, sort of like a year in review type thing. "That first game was tough. Syracuse, we think about that game all the time, but the way we bounced back against NC State after a loss like that was a huge moment for our team. A lot of us stayed in Winston-Salem over the summer. We were really close. I just had a great experience with this team and everyone on the team, and the coaching staff was awesome."
What was the biggest highlight of this season, a particular game or moment? "Definitely Florida State. They were a Top 25 team at the time, our crowd was electric, and we pulled that upset. It kind of got us rolling into our ACC play."
What about for you individually? "Individually I don't know, probably the NC State game just because we got the 'W' and I played well. Anytime you play well and you come out with the loss your play really doesn't mean much, so anytime you play well and the team wins you ought to be happy with yourself and the team."