Last night I watched the Wake Forest game with great interest. The Deac's have a 2-game winning streak over FSU. They won a close game in Winston-Salem last year, and helped to usher Jeff Bowden out the door by winning in Tallahassee in 2006, 30-0.
I've been pretty vocal about not believing in Wake's offense. I do think their defense will be pretty good, considering they have a lot of senior starters and some NFL talent (for once).
Last night, however, I was underwhelmed by Wake's offensive attack. Here are my observations.
1. Skinner is an accurate passer.
2. Baylor seemed very concerned with the deep ball, and skinner picked them apart. He threw 36 times for 220 yards. That is not very impressive. Baylor needed to dare him to beat them deep. It was very evident that he would repeatedly take 5 yard completion after 5 yard completion if they gave it to him, which they did.
3. The margin of victory wasn't really indicative of Wake's play, as it was Baylor's ineptness.
3. Baylor committed 2 turnovers where Wake basically did nothing. First, Alphonso Smith picks off a ball that literally hits off the wideout's hands (first), and helmet (second), before Smith picked it. Wake didn't force that turnover. They didn't bait him into a bad throw or pressure him into a poor pass. The wideout just gave a pathetic effort on a very easy catch. This was in Baylor's zone, and led to a Wake score.
Second, Baylor's qb took a snap inside his 15 yard line, rolled left, and DROPPED THE BALL, WITHOUT BEING TOUCHED! Again, the ball rolled to Wake. Please explain me how wake forced that turnover.
5. Wake's running game really struggled. Adams and Pendergrass (their main running game), had 28 carries for 71 yards. That is bad. Wake's offensive line really struggled in rub blocking. Baylor's front 7 is Syracuse bad, and Wake struggled to block them, which is consistent with what we've been hearing out of Wake camp.
Their overall running numbers were really inflated because Baylor couldn't tackle a speedster on a 55 yard run.
6. Wake pass protected pretty well. Baylor has no threats off the edge, but nevertheless, give Wake's guys credit for keeping Skinner clean.
7. I hate to keep harping on this, but Baylor's plan was to not get embarassed (didn't work because of their ridiculous turnovers in their own zone). They let Wake have almost everything short.
8. Wake had ONE passing play of more than 15 yards. Now, as I noted above, Baylor sat back in cover three a lot, but these Wide Receivers are not impressive, even against Baylor.
9. Wake can play some defense. They tackled well for the most part, even though Baylor's second half QB was very fast.
10. This game is deceiving because it was extremely choppy. Baylor had FIVE turnovers (3 fumbles lost and 2 picks). Wake did force 2 of these, but the other three are stuff that top 50 teams don't do on a consistent basis.
These play-by-play entries tell a good story:
4th-8, Bay22 14:16 D. Epperson punt to the Baylor 36, no return.
COMMENT: Baylor's first went 14 yards.
Wake Forest - 11:23
1st-10, Wake38 11:23 J. Adams rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
2nd-8, Wake40 10:53 R. Skinner incomplete pass to the left
3rd-8, Wake40 10:44 R. Skinner passed to M. Williams to the right for 15 yard gain
1st-10, Bay45 10:29 J. Adams rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain
2nd-8, Bay43 9:54 R. Skinner passed to M. Williams to the right for 9 yard gain
1st-10, Bay34 9:41 D. Boldin rushed to the right for 8 yard gain
2nd-2, Bay26 9:14 J. Adams rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
1st-10, Bay23 8:59 R. Skinner passed to D. Boldin down the middle for 4 yard gain
2nd-6, Bay19 8:33 R. Skinner passed to D. Boldin to the left for 3 yard gain
3rd-3, Bay16 7:55 J. Adams rushed to the right for 3 yard gain
1st-10, Bay13 7:37 J. Adams rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
2nd-9, Bay12 7:05 R. Skinner passed to C. Brinkman down the middle for 12 yard touchdown. S. Swank made PAT
COMMENT: Wake's drive starts on Baylor's 36. Baylor plays soft, and Wake drives for a touchdown with 11 plays, only one of which went 10+ yards. No pressure applied. Soft zone heavy.
3rd-9, Bay41 4:11 A. Smith intercepted K. Freeman for 1 yard
Wake Forest - 4:06
1st-10, Bay48 4:06 B. Pendergrass rushed to the left for 1 yard loss
2nd-11, Bay49 3:35 R. Skinner rushed to the right for 4 yard gain
3rd-7, Bay45 2:52 R. Skinner passed to M. Williams to the right for 7 yard gain
1st-10, Bay38 2:25 R. Skinner rushed up the middle for 7 yard loss. R. Skinner fumbled. B. Pendergrass recovered fumble
2nd-17, Bay45 1:50 R. Skinner rushed to the right for 9 yard gain
3rd-8, Bay36 1:17 R. Skinner passed to B. Wooster to the right for 7 yard gain
4th-1, Bay29 1:10 B. Pendergrass rushed up the middle for 4 yard gain
1st-10, Bay25 0:52 R. Skinner passed to D. Boldin to the left for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, Bay20 0:20 R. Skinner passed to B. Wooster down the middle for 14 yard gain
Wake Forest continued
1st-6, Bay6 15:00 B. Pendergrass rushed to the right for 3 yard gain
2nd-3, Bay3 14:27 B. Pendergrass rushed to the left for 3 yard touchdown. S. Swank made PAT
COMMENT: This interception is the one I commented about above. Wake didn't do shit to get the pick, the wideout literally let it hit him in both hands. Again, wake goes 11 plays, with only one being more than 10 yards. Baylor didn't even attempt to challenge Wake's wideouts.
Baylor - 8:50
1st-10, Bay4 8:50 J. Finley rushed up the middle for 7 yard gain
2nd-3, Bay11 8:14 R. Griffin rushed up the middle for no gain. R. Griffin fumbled. H. Haynes recovered fumble
Wake Forest - 8:08
1st-10, Bay11 8:08 B. Pendergrass rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
2nd-7, Bay8 7:43 R. Skinner passed to C. Brinkman down the middle for 8 yard touchdown. S. Swank made PAT
COMMENT: Griffin was not touched on the fumble. He literally took the snap, took 2 steps left, and dropped the ball. Wake takes over at Baylor's 11. 14 points off of turnovers they had no hand in forcing. Pure Dominance ;)
Wake Forest - 7:36
Wake kicked off, M. Baker returned kickoff for 9 yards. M. Baker fumbled. J. La Mar recovered fumble
COMMENT: Baylor fumbles the kickoff. They look inept. Wake takes over on Baylor's 17.
Guys, please watch this game for yourselves before passing judgment on Wake. I am not buying into this team yet. We can dominate their wideouts, and they will struggle to block us, even though we are extremely thin at DT. There is no way we sit in cover three all day and let Skinner filet us in 5 yard chunks. In the words of some TV Infomercials, "I'm still skeptical."