Game 547: Demon Deacons leave Louisville trailing in wake, 42-32
Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest enjoyed a 35-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter of Collegefootballfan.com Game 547 thanks to four TD passes from QB John Wolford to WR Greg Dortch. However, the result remained in doubt until the waning minutes against Louisville led by 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson for Wake to finally take this ACC Atlantic clash, 42-32. Despite Wake’s early domination, Jackson became more elusive late in the game rushing for a total of 161 yards and three TDs while completing 22 of 44 passes for 330 yards and one TD.
For Collegefootballfan.com, we attended our seventh WFU game ever, but experienced our first at BB&T Stadium in Winston-Salem. GGA George Lazarides (Johns Hopkins) and I had the great pleasure of staying with our good friends Jim Harton (WFU) and his wife Courtenay (UNC Greensboro) who recently retired back in their native North Carolina and who now revel in being season ticket holders who meet and tailgate with a great group of their Wake Forest friends. In the end, Collegefootballfan.com impressed the WFU fandom as we noted that their Deacs now stand at 7-0 in the annals of our Game 547 history. We are invited back again already.
Trailing 35-17 early in the fourth, the Cardinals (5-4, 4-1) drove from their ten to the Demon Deacon six to attempt to score on fourth and goal. Jackson’s pass fell incomplete to turn the ball over. WFU looked to eat up the clock and lock this game up on the ensuing drive with RB Matt Colburn (24 carries for 134 yards) doing the brunt of running the football. On fourth and one, Louisville looked to jump offsides from our angle, but no flag flew and Colburn got stopped for no gain. The ball went back on downs to the visitors from Kentucky on their 38. From his 48, Jackson raced the length of the field to put up six and the PAT with 1:10 remaining.
The ensuing onsides kick handled by WFU’s Jesse Bates gave the Deacs possession on the Cardinal 46. With three time-outs left, Bobby Petrino’s LU defense stacked the box. They stopped Colburn for on a two-yard gain and called their first time-out. I called Wake Forest’s next play for Jim and George. Sure enough, the call came from HC Dave Clawson’s mind to my lips. Wolford, who had his best game ever according to die-hard Demon Deacon followers, faked a hand-off to the dive back and rolled right on an attempted option, stopped, stood, and fired the ball to wide open Chuck Wade who ran the rest of the 44 yards for a TD and a 42-25 Demon Deacon lead. WFU fans breathed a little easier, but as Jim stated, he never believes the outcome of a Wake Forest win until he reads about it the next morning. With :57 left, the game seemed to be in the bag, but…
With only 14 seconds left, Jackson threw a touchdown pass of 20 yards, after having run for three earlier, to WR Charles Standberry to close the gap 42-32. The next onsides kick was gathered in by the Deacs’ Scotty Washington (six catches for 133 yards). Wolford (28 of 34, 461 yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs) finally took a knee in the victory formation just once as time expired. Jim would check the internet at 5:30 am the next morning to confirm the Wake Forest victory and inform his friends. Great game! Exciting plays. Impressive players.
Next week, the Deacs travel to South Bend, Indiana to play No. 5 Notre Dame (7-1). Louisville will host Virginia in two weeks, and we’ll have the scouting report if Bobby Petrino wants our play-calling expertise since we will see the Cavaliers (5-3,2-2) host Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2) this Saturday at Scott Stadium, another first-time ACC venue for us. However, before that game, we’ll be at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly Thursday night to see Navy (5-3, 3-2) try to get back on the winning track when they play AAC East foe Temple (3-5,1-3). As for Wake Forest, we told Jim and his friends that we’re willing to bring our 7-0 WFU record with us if the Demon Deacons make it to the PinStripe, Military, or Belk bowls this year. We plan to be at all three and the ACC will be playing in each as well.
Points After Tailgating
In Jim’s pregame assessment of Game 547 for us, he said to keep an eye on red-shirt freshman WR Greg Dortch. He’s the most exciting player he’d ever seen. His ten catches for 167 yards and four TDs proved what Jim had reported. He made tacklers miss on kickoffs (two for 50 yards in total) as well as pass receptions. The red-shirt frosh from Richmond, VA beat defenders badly on several patterns. His scores came on receptions from 32, 4, 25, and 52 yards out. He also missed another TD scored as he lunged across the goal line on a 29-yard pass play in the third only to have the ball fall out of his hand as he extended past the pylon for what was ruled a touchback. Dortch scored on his longest catch of the day after that. We think we saw a potential Heisman candidate playing against a previous winner here. However, Jim reported to us on Monday that on one of the TDs where he remained on the ground after in the second period, something must have happened because he is out for the season with some kind of stomach injury. We’ll keep an eye out for him in the future. We would have liked to see what he could do against Notre Dame next week.
Lamar Jackson is an exciting, elusive player to watch. He ran for scores of 7, 4, and 52 yards. I have to believe that the difference for him between this year and last was the experienced linemen he had a year ago. Even with less experienced players in front of him this year, he still makes things happen on offense.
George and I met Jim on Friday at the Foothills Micro-Brewery recommended to us by another Jim at our Delaware vs. JMU game on September 30. We have to thank that Jim for the recommendation before our trek to game 547. We enjoyed the Amber Ale. They ran out of the Oktoberfest. The food there was very good as well. Jim had their Hoppyum in his refrigerator at home and Wake Forest sells it at their stadium.
On Friday after lunch, Jim took George and I for a tour of Wake’s campus. He toured us around like he owned the place which was great. He takes great pride now in starting to set up a better rapport between the Chemistry department at WFU and the chemical industry where Jim retired from after 40 years in leadership positions. He reminisced walking around about some of his greatest memories and great times while in school. He told us of his friends we’d meet at the tailgate and told us no one would call him “Jim”. Instead he was known to his great fraternity friends he partied with at school as “Bug” and to his smart friends he studied with known as a “Boog-a-loo”, or something like that. On Saturday at the tailgate, a lot of people called him “Bug”. Tailgating is about having great times and sharing great friendships (and a lot of great eats and drinks, too).
We met a lot of Jim’s friends while tailgating by their nicknames. One die-hard Deacon alum among the group we met was Earl, but he claims to have 47 or 48 nicknames given to him by fraternity brothers over the years. Many would be unprintable here. Earl insists that we get together again for some future Wake Forest games. We look forward to doing that.
We met a lot of Bugs’ friends, had great food, enjoyed great drinks, heard lot of stories from their school days, and talked Wake Forest football for which many of them are excited about under fourth year HC Dave Clawson. We saw him coach Fordham in a playoff game against Northeastern in Boston back in 2002 on Thanksgiving weekend when his Rams won, 29-24. Talk about memories – I can’t believe that that was 15 years ago already! All the little kids, nieces and nephews, are also college alumni now. Northeastern also gave up football since. Too bad.