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September 2, 2011
Revisiting the 10 keys
1) Did Wake Forest's O-Line prevail?
The offensive line allowed three sacks, and quarterback Tanner Price was ultimately knocked out of the game. The Demon Deacons rushed 43 times for only 80 yards, averaging 1.9 yards per carry. However, the Deacs did move the ball through the air (326 yards passing), but Wake needs balance, and it all starts up front.
2) Did the Deacs take care of the football?
Wake Forest showed great discipline in this area until Price left the game, and Ted Stachitas was intercepted by Kevyn Scott on an underthrown pass in his second series.
3) Did the defense make plays?
Yes, the Demon Deacons forced two turnovers, and Syracuse to punt its first four possession, but only sacked Ryan Nassib once. Wake gave up nine plays of 10 yards or more, including a 53-yard touchdown run by Antwon Bailey that set up the game-tying two-point conversion with 7:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. After holding the Orange to seven first-half points the Deacs let Syracuse go off for 29 in the second half.
4) Were Bailey's holes plugged?
Bailey was stymied early, but got stronger as the game wore on, finishing with 25 carries for 114 yards and two touchdowns. If only the Deacs could take away that one lapse when he broke loose to tie the game, but there are also tons more 'what-ifs' the players and coaches must be thinking about now.
5) Did Whitlock win?
Nikita Whitlock was a thorn in Syracuse center Macky MacPherson's flesh. Whitlock sacked Nassib for a nine-yard loss, and forced Bailey to fumble. He was in the backfield, and creating all sorts of problems for the Syracuse offense, but then again it takes more than one player.
6) Was Nassib rattled?
He was pressured early and often, but as the game progressed Nassib settled and made some big-time throws. Probably the most impressive one was the game-winning touchdown pass to Van Chew in overtime where he had to throw across his body.
7) Were Cuse's corps covered?
Not when it mattered most. Nassib only passed for 178 yards, was intercepted once, but he did connect for three touchdowns.
8) Any hype for Harris?
Josh Harris carried 22 times for 66 yards rushing, but the Demon Deacons could not hold their blocks long enough for him to break a big one. For Wake Forest to be successful it is going to need more from Harris and the running game.
9) Was the Price paid?
Price was on point before his injury, completing 18 of his 31 attempts for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He did struggle some with short passes, but improved as the game went on. Chris Givens (seven receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns) and Michael Campanaro (seven receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown) asserted themselves as reliable targets for Price, dominating the Orange secondary.
10)What kind of intangibles did the Deacs show?
It is obvious that the Demon Deacons are still lacking the discipline to finish drives, as they arguably left a minimum of 10 points on the field in the first quarter. They threw opportunities away to put Syracuse out of the game for good, and panicked and folded when Price went down.