Wake Forest senior receiver Marshall Williams said he was “miserable” last year watching other teams play in bowl games from the comfort of his home.
Odds are he’ll be even more miserable if it happens a second time.
“You know you have the capability to play with those teams,” Williams said. “You know you have the talent. I feel like we were the best five-win team in nation last year, even though that's not really saying anything. You see teams on the bowl-game schedule making plays, and we just need to make more plays. We definitely are motivated to make it to a bowl game, even though our chances of making it to the ACC championship, which we originally set out to do, are not great. We've got to go for what's attainable right now. We're definitely focusing on coming out here and winning these games.”
For the seniors on the roster, becoming bowl eligible has inspired a greater sense of urgency as the Demon Deacons head to College Park this weekend to face a much-improved Maryland team from the one they beat a year ago. There’s very little margin for error, though, as Wake Forest now has to win four of its remaining five games to reach the postseason. Three of those games -- Maryland, NC State and Vanderbilt -- are on the road.
Coach Jim Grobe said the most important priority now should be snapping the five-game losing streak.
“We’re really not trying to use bowl games as a motivator right now,” he said. “When you’re 2-5, you’re just looking to win a game. If we win a game Saturday, that gives us an opportunity to get to a bowl game. We know we have to win four out of the next five, and that’s not going to be an easy task with the teams that we are playing. The thing that we have to focus on is just playing better. If we play good football, all of the other stuff will take care of itself.”
Senior safety Alex Frye said the team hasn’t lost sight of returning to the postseason.
"It's definitely still motivation,” he said. “It's my senior year, and we want to go out on top, or at least in some type of spotlight. It's definitely a motivation for the entire team, not just myself."