Not much to complain about thanks to the sad state of the Wake Forest defense. NC State averaged 6.3 yards per snap, exceeding the 6.0 yards per snap allowed by Wake's defense heading into the game. That's the main thing I'm looking for every week, though it doesn't necessarily suggest a strong performance by the Wolfpack offense.
Russell Wilson had one of the easier days he's had in a while; it must have felt like flag football after the tough sledding in Clemson a week ago. On the downs where the Deacs' front seven couldn't manage any pressure, Wake's generally lifeless and mostly useless secondary made Wilson's throws simple pitch-and-catch affairs.
State scored on all five trips into the red zone, including four TDs.
Wake Forest's offense put together a couple of maddeningly long drives in the first half. Frustrating because of the duration of them but also because of how many plays it took them to cover ground. The first one needed 15 plays to gain 57 yards--less than four yards per snap. I realize that technically three average gains would result in a first down every time, but it still doesn't seem like that sort of non-explosive drive should be possible. And going back through the play-by-play just now, I see that was the drive extended by a running into the kicker penalty. So I guess it isn't really possible.
That drive ended with a field goal, and the second long one ended with a turnover on downs inside NC State's five yard line. The Pack's defense made sure that was the last of Wake Forest's scoring opportunities. The defense put together its most dominant performance of the season in the second half, though I thought Wake cooperated with some supremely lame/conservative play calls. On that note, and getting back to the first half for a minute, here's what the Deacs did with their two goal-to-go situations:
W 1-G S06 Campanaro, M rush for 4 yards to the ST2 (Cole, A.;Irving, N.).
W 2-G S02 Campanaro, M rush for 1 yard to the ST1 (Wolff, E.;Amerson, D.).
W 3-G S01 Campanaro, M rush for loss of 1 yard to the ST2 (Irving, N.;Sweezy, J.).
W 4-G S02 Newman, J field goal attempt from 19 GOOD, clock 12:35.
W 1-G S07 Campanaro, M rush for loss of 1 yard to the ST8 (Irving, N.).
W 2-G S08 Campanaro, M rush for 5 yards to the ST3 (Manning, T.).
W 3-G S03 Campanaro, M rush for 1 yard to the ST2 (Wolff, E.;Sweezy, J.) (Irving, N.).
W 4-G S02 Timeout Wake Forest, clock 01:02.
W 4-G S02 Campanaro, M rush for loss of 1 yard to the ST3 (Akinniyi, D.;Bishop, B.).
Either Jim Grobe has this Campanaro fellow on his ACC fantasy football team or the idea of a Tanner Price pass attempt inside the ten is scarier than zombie Nazis. I thought the 4th-and-goal call that got stuffed was especially baffling. But I appreciate the assist.
The conservative nature of the playcalling kept them in the first half, so I get it, but it might have been a decent idea to at least try and open things up when they went down a few scores in the second half. There wasn't much left to lose that hadn't already been lost at that point.
Anyway, the Pack did an outstanding job in that second half. Thirty-six yards allowed.
Chris Hawthorne's debut was a success--he made his lone field goal attempt and his kickoff distance was fine, or at least no worse than what we were used to getting from Czajkowski. Though there was the inevitable kick out of bounds.