Season Report Card: Wake Forest
Although Wake Forest was competitive this season, the team wasn’t able to register enough wins. Let’s take a look at the Demon Deacons’ report card:
The offense was led by wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who was able to break the program’s career reception record (229). Despite missing the last three games of the season, Campanaro registered 67 receptions for 803 yards and six touchdowns. But overall, the offense struggled mightily in 2013. Wake Forest was only able to average 18.3 points per game, which ranks 117th in the FBS. This unit was neither able to run or throw the football, averaging less than 200 yards passing and only 94 yards rushing per game. There can be little doubt that this offense was mainly responsible for the losing season.
Wake Forest finished sixth in the ACC for total defense, giving up 382 yards per contest. But yards don’t always translate to points, with the unit only giving up 24 points per game (ranked 38th in the FBS). The defense played well enough to win more games than the Demon Deacons did in 2013. The most important piece to stopping opposing teams was senior nose tackle Nikita Whitlock. Whitlock totaled 82 tackles and nine sacks (ranked ninth in ACC) this past season. But as good as Whitlock was, the Wake Forest defense couldn’t make up for its struggling offense. Only giving up 30+ points in two games all year (Clemson and Florida State), I would argue the defense did all it could in 2013.
Losing the last five games of the season never feels good, but only winning two conference games won’t put a smile on your face. The Demon Deacons did show life early on, with two impressive ACC victories in a row against NC State and Maryland. But the wheels fell off after that short stretch. Wake Forest simply couldn’t win a close game, going 0-4 in games decided by one score. Incoming head coach Dave Clawson will have talent to work with in 2014, but the challenge will be finishing the fourth quarter.