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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Wake reversing its trend of winning close games

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Something has changed at Wake Forest.

The Demon Deacons were 17-8 in games decided by four points or less from 2001 to early November 2008. Since then, Wake is 0-9, according to research by Patrick Stevens of D1Scourse.com.

Wake's 28-27 loss to Navy this past Saturday was its ninth straight loss by four points or less.

So what gives?

I asked coach Jim Grobe about it on today's ACC teleconference.

"Obviously we're not making plays late," Grobe said. "Whenever you win, our best teams have been teams that found a way in the fourth quarter to make plays when it counted. We just have not been doing that. One of our problems is, every team we've lost these close games to is a good team. We haven't played one team that we were better than and went out and just messed it up. It's been a deal where all of the teams this is happening with are bowl teams that are good programs. The No. 1 thing is we're not making plays in the fourth quarter, the other thing is we're playing really good teams."

There's one more factor that coincides with his answer, and that's the lack of a player who's willing and able to make clutch plays. Against Georgia Tech, that player was Joshua Nesbitt. Against Navy, it was Ricky Dobbs. For Wake Forest, it used to be Riley Skinner, or Alphonso Smith, or Aaron Curry.

If Wake doesn't have that type of player on its current roster, it needs to recruit one -- quickly -- to help reverse this trend.