ACC: ACC-2010-final-team-reviews

Season recap: Boston College

December, 7, 2010
The best thing that could have happened to BC this year was its schedule, arguably the most favorable in the ACC, especially in the second half of the season when it needed wins the most. With the help of a three-game November stretch that included Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia, the Eagles became the first program in ACC history to lose five straight games and then have a five-game winning streak.

They did it with a strong running game and their traditionally stingy blue-collar defense, led by All-America linebacker Luke Kuechly. Running back Montel Harris was the only offense BC had for most of the season and helped take pressure off of rookie quarterback Chase Rettig after Dave Shinskie was benched. There were plenty of bumps and bruises along the way, as BC was forced to rely on true freshmen, including Rettig and running back Andre Williams, but that will only benefit the program in the future. While the Eagles ushered in a new era of talent, they will also bid farewell to the face of the program in linebacker Mark Herzlich, whose comeback from Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer was one of the best stories in college football.

Offensive MVP: Harris. He topped the 100-yard mark in his final six games of the regular season and in eight of 11 appearances overall. He injured his knee in the win against Virginia, but the Eagles wouldn’t have become bowl-eligible without him. He leads the ACC with 103.6 rushing yards per game and 1,243 rushing yards.

Defensive MVP: Kuechly. He leads the nation in tackles (171, 14.25 per game) and solo tackles (102, 8.50 per game) and has registered 10 or more tackles in 21 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation. He is the only BC player to record 300 tackles in his first two seasons, doing so in his 23rd game.

Turning point: The Eagles' 16-10 win against Clemson stopped their five-game losing streak – the program’s longest since 1998 – and restored their hope in bowl eligibility. BC’s defense forced three turnovers and the Eagles haven’t lost since.

What’s next: Boston College is headed to San Francisco for the second straight year, this time to face Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It’s the 12th straight bowl game for Boston College, and in order to win it, the defense will have to come through again. Nevada is No. 3 in the country in total offense, No. 7 in scoring offense and No. 3 in rushing offense.

Season recap: Clemson

December, 7, 2010
The 2009 Atlantic Division champs couldn’t make a comeback like they did a year ago, and that can be attributed to the lack of offensive progress. Quarterback Kyle Parker, who turned down a baseball-only contract as a first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, didn’t deliver in his final season as expected, but he also didn’t have the help he needed on the receiving end for the first half of the year. Eventually, DeAndre Hopkins emerged as Parker’s favorite target, but the Tigers were also hurt by the toe injury to leading rusher Andre Ellington.

Clemson lost three of its final five games, including the season finale to rival South Carolina -- again. The Tigers were held scoreless for the final 58 minutes of that game and had three turnovers, a microcosm of the struggles all season. The defense took an important step forward in the second year under coordinator Kevin Steele, though, and finished No. 9 in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 17.75 points per game. Clemson salvaged the season by becoming bowl-eligible against Wake Forest, but more will be expected of the staff in 2011.

Offensive MVP: Left tackle Chris Hairston. He was the Tigers’ top offensive lineman and helped pave the way for Ellington and Jamie Harper, who combined for over 1,400 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns this year.

Defensive MVP: Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. The finalist for the Bednarik Award, Hendricks Award, Lombardi Award, and Nagurski Trophy leads the nation in sacks (15.5) and is second in tackles for loss (24). He is also second on the team in tackles (67).

Turning point: The 16-10 loss to Boston College put the Tigers’ bowl hopes in serious jeopardy and ended the possibility of making a run at a second straight Atlantic Division title. It snapped a two-game winning streak in conference play and dropped the Tigers to 2-3 in the ACC.

What’s next: Clemson will make its first appearance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, where it will face South Florida for the first time. The Tigers should have their way with an offense that ranks 103rd in the country, but both teams have struggled with turnovers this year. It should be a low-scoring game.

Season recap: Duke

December, 7, 2010
Quarterback Sean Renfree experienced some growing pains in his first season as a starter, but he did get better, and that bodes well for the future. Turnovers were one of Duke’s biggest problems this year, though, as the Blue Devils ranked 112th in the country in turnover margin. When interceptions weren’t a factor, the passing game was the highlight of the season. Three different receivers had more than 400 yards each, and tight end Cooper Helfet gave Renfree another dependable option. Still, Duke struggled to run the ball and stop the run, and that added up to a six-game losing streak following the season-opening win against Elon.

Duke avoided taking a significant step back in David Cutcliffe’s third season by beating Navy and Virginia for a three-win season. Cutcliffe continues to prove he can win at Duke, but the staff must close the talent gap through recruiting if the program is going to reach the postseason.

Offensive MVP: Receiver Conner Vernon. He leads the ACC in pass receptions (73), receptions per game (6.08) and 100-yard receiving games (four) and is third in the league in both receiving yards (973) and receiving yards per game (81.1). His 73 receptions fell one catch shy of the school’s 40-year old single-season record of 74 set by Wes Chesson in 1970.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Abraham Kromah. He ranks second in the ACC with a team-best 129 tackles in 2010. He also led the Blue Devils with 9.5 tackles for loss while reaching double figures in the tackle column eight times including a career-best 20-stop performance in the season finale against North Carolina.

Turning point: If Duke was going to have a shot at its first bowl game since 1994, it had to beat Army, and when the Blue Devils lost at home, 35-21, it set the tone for the rest of the season. Duke’s five turnovers in that game also started a trend that was difficult for the Blue Devils to shake until later in the season.

What’s next: Recruiting will continue to be the top priority, but there are still signs of promise on the current roster, as Renfree returns along with Duke’s top receivers. The offensive line will return three starters, so some continuity there will help, but the defense must get better at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and creating takeaways.

Season recap: Florida State

December, 7, 2010
It was a successful start for first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, and he set the bar high with an Atlantic Division title and an appearance in the ACC championship game. One of the best moves Fisher made was the hire of first-year defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. The defensive improvement – especially up front – was a major factor in the program’s return to relevance. After FSU was manhandled 47-17 by Oklahoma in the second game of the season, the defense settled in and helped the Noles on a five-game winning streak. Midseason back-to-back losses to NC State and North Carolina both came down to the final plays of the game, and FSU had to count on Maryland’s win against NC State to sneak into the championship game. Quarterback Christian Ponder, who entered the season in the spotlight of the school’s first Heisman campaign, never quite lived up to the hype and was hindered by an elbow injury for most of November. Still, a 6-2 finish in ACC play had Florida State right where it was projected to be this past summer – in the title game.

Offensive MVP: Guard Rodney Hudson. He earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the second straight season, and is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. He has made 47 career starts at guard, and finished the regular season having graded out to 87 percent with 44 knockdown blocks. He was been penalized only once in 772 snaps heading into the title game. He was also the only offensive lineman nominated for ACC Player of the Year by the ACC's football coaches.

Defensive MVP: Defensive end Brandon Jenkins. He’s the team’s top pass-rusher and has great speed off the edge. He is second in the ACC in sacks (13), and third in the ACC in tackles for loss (19.5). Statistically, he tied for the third-most productive season in school history.

Turning point: The 31-7 win against Florida. It was a monumental moment for the program, which had not defeated the Gators since 2003, a span of six games. It signified the possibility of a shift in the balance of power within the state, as the Seminoles finished the season as the only team ranked in the final BCS standings.

What’s next: Florida State will have a chance to make another statement against SEC East champion South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The defense will have to play much better than it did against Virginia Tech, when it allowed the Hokies 13 of 18 third-down conversions.

Season recap: Georgia Tech

December, 7, 2010
The 2009 ACC champs were a shell of their title team this year, having lost too many key players and too much NFL talent to win the Coastal Division. Fortunately for the Jackets, they became bowl-eligible with a 30-20 win against Duke before the season-ending loss to rival Georgia. It was a rocky transition to the 3-4 defense under first-year defensive coordinator Al Groh, but the scheme is only as successful as the personnel to execute it, and it will take a few years for the staff to recruit the players to fit it and for them to comprehend it. The Jackets allowed 26. 17 points per game, and were among the worst teams in the country when it came to getting pressure on quarterbacks and tackles for loss. Georgia Tech also sorely missed former receiver Demaryius Thomas, but B-back Anthony Allen developed into a dependable 1,000-yard rusher and helped the Jackets lead the nation in rushing offense. The injury to starting quarterback Joshua Nesbitt (broken right forearm) in the Virginia Tech game was a significant factor through the rest of November, but the experience backup Tevin Washington received as a result will prove invaluable in the future.

Offensive MVP: Allen. He was the leading rusher on the nation's most prolific rushing team, and was at his best in November. Over his last two games of the regular season -- against Duke and Georgia -- Allen rushed for 331 yards. His 1,225 yards this season are the eighth-most single-season yards in Tech history. He was a first-team all-conference pick.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Julian Burnett. After playing sparingly in September, Burnett finally began to grasp the 3-4 scheme and Groh began to gain confidence in the 5-foot-10 sophomore. Since then, Burnett has recorded double-digit tackles in four games. He has 76 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception this season.

Turning point: The loss at Clemson gave Georgia Tech its second ACC loss of the season, diminished the Jackets’ chances of defending their ACC title, and started a three-game losing streak. Nesbitt was held to just two yards rushing in the loss, and the defeat halted the momentum of a three-game winning streak.

What’s next: Georgia Tech will face Air Force in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl in a game that features the nation’s top two running games. A win would stop a five-game bowl losing streak for Georgia Tech. It’s possible Nesbitt could return for the bowl game, but coach Paul Johnson said recently that it’s still too early to tell.

Season recap: Maryland

December, 7, 2010
The Terps entered this season picked by the media to finish last in the Atlantic Division, and coach Ralph Friedgen’s job was on the line. Those within the program, still embarrassed by their 2009 2-10 finish, were determined not to let either of those things happen, and Maryland went on to finish 8-4 for the second-best turnaround in the FBS this year behind Miami (Ohio). Friedgen was named the ACC’s Coach of the Year, and quarterback Danny O’Brien was the leauge’s Rookie of the Year. The defense made significant strides in the second season under coordinator Don Brown, and the Terps were one of the best teams in the country in turnover margin.

Maryland was in position to win the Atlantic Division title, but a home loss to Florida State knocked the Terps out of the running. They rebounded on Senior Day, though, and played the role of spoiler in an impressive win against NC State.

Offensive MVP: Wide receiver Torrey Smith. In the win against NC State, Smith had career highs in receptions (14), receiving yards (224) and receiving touchdowns (4), which was also a school single-game record. Smith became the second Maryland player to post more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season (1,045), joining Marcus Badgett (1,240 in 1992). He is third on the school career receptions list with 150. He also holds the Maryland career all-purpose yards mark, passing Lamont Jordan (4,960, 1997-00).

Defensive MVP: Safety Kenny Tate. He is sixth in the ACC in tackles (7.8 per game), first in forced fumbles (0.33 pg) and tied for 12th in interceptions (0.25 pg). He is also the leader in sacks among ACC defensive backs (.32 per game).

Turning point: The season-opening 17-14 win against Navy. This was literally the beginning of the turnaround, and how Maryland fared in this game set the tone for the rest of the season. It was a quality win against a bowl team on the road, and in order for Maryland to reach the postseason, it needed to go 3-1 in the nonconference schedule with an expected loss to West Virginia. This win gave the team the confidence it needed to know this season could be different.

What’s next: Maryland will face East Carolina in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman. The Terps were hoping to get an invitation from the Champs Sports Bowl after their win against NC State, but officials chose the Wolfpack instead. The Terps are No. 9 in the nation in pass efficiency defense and will have to play like it against former Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis, who has thrown for 36 touchdowns and 3,699 yards, the fourth-most in the nation, while completing nearly 65 percent of his passes.

Season recap: Miami

December, 7, 2010
A season filled with high expectations turned into one disaster after another. Starting on the national stage in the loss at Ohio State, quarterback Jacory Harris once again disappointed Miami fans with his penchant for turnovers. The ire increased when Miami was outplayed and outcoached by rival Florida State in a 45-17 loss to the Noles in Sun Life Stadium. The concern over the quarterback position reached a peak at Virginia when Harris suffered a serious concussion and the Canes suddenly had to turn to their fourth-string option, Stephen Morris. A valiant effort by Morris against Virginia fell short, though, and Miami’s hopes at winning the Coastal Division took a significant hit. Still, Morris proved capable of winning games, and Miami’s ability to run the ball helped take pressure off him in wins over Maryland and Georgia Tech. The defense, which ranks first in the country in tackles for loss, second in pass defense and sixth in sacks, was the backbone of the team’s success but it wasn’t enough. Miami finished the season with back-to-back losses against Virginia Tech and South Florida, and Randy Shannon was fired hours after losing to the Bulls.

Offensive MVP: Receiver Leonard Hankerson. His 12 touchdown catches this season is a Miami record, breaking Michael Irvin's mark of 11 set in 1986. In the Hurricanes' regular season finale, Hankerson became just the third player in program history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season and the first to have 2,000 yards for a career and 1,000 yards in a season.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Sean Spence. He reached the 100-tackle mark for the first time in his career this year, making 101 stops and a team-best 17.0 tackles for loss in 12 games. Ranking second on the team and fifth in the ACC with an 8.3 tackles per game average, Spence also finished the regular season with 2.5 sacks, six pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

Turning point: The 24-19 loss to Virginia changed the course of the season and the quarterback position for Miami. It was the second ACC loss of the year, and Morris immediately became a fan favorite. Instead of looking towards a season-defining game against Virginia Tech, Miami had to regroup to beat Maryland.

What’s next: Interim head coach Jeff Stoutland will lead the Canes against Notre Dame in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, but Miami is still searching for its next head coach. The administration has said it will take as much time as it needs to find the right person, and it should -- this one needs to be a home run hire.

Season recap: NC State

December, 7, 2010
Expectations were tempered for a team that had to replace all four starters on the defensive line and didn’t have a single running back with any starting experience. What the Wolfpack did have, though, was one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Russell Wilson, and he was the difference in what turned out to be the program’s first winning season in five years. The hire of assistant coach Jon Tenuta helped the defense show measurable improvement, as did the return of linebacker Nate Irving. The rushing defense is No. 12 in the country and No. 4 in both tackles for loss and sacks. The running game struggled, though, as did the offensive line. This year’s group earned eight wins for the first time since 2003, but there is still a sense of what could have been, as NC State was one win away from playing for the ACC title. NC State squandered a 17-0 lead at home to ACC champs Virginia Tech, had a costly interception in an overtime loss at East Carolina and bumbled away an opportunity at Clemson. Despite all of those mistakes, NC State only needed to beat Maryland in the season finale to win the Atlantic Division, but the Pack had no answer for Maryland receiver Torrey Smith.

Offensive MVP: Quarterback Russell Wilson. He has 1,042 rushing yards for his career, ranking second in school history only to Wolfpack quarterback Johnny Evans in career rushing by a quarterback. Wilson has been responsible for 91 career touchdowns, second only to Philip Rivers in the NC State and ACC record books. He has thrown for over 300 yards eight times this season.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Nate Irving. He had one of the most memorable performances of the season with his NCAA-record eight tackles for loss in the win over Wake Forest. He is second in the ACC in tackles for loss (20.5), and ninth in tackles (88). It was a remarkable comeback story for Irving, who missed all of last season with serious injuries sustained in a life-threatening car accident.

Turning point: The 14-13 loss to Clemson. This is a game that NC State should have won, and Clemson gave the Wolfpack every opportunity to. The Tigers fumbled five times, losing two of them, threw an interception, had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty and missed two short field goals. NC State, though, had just 13 points in five trips to the red zone, Wilson threw an interception in the end zone, and Clemson blocked a field goal.

What’s next: NC State has a chance to earn the second-highest win total in school history with a win over No. 22 West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. The Pack is looking for its first bowl win in the second postseason appearance in four years under coach Tom O’Brien.

Season recap: North Carolina

December, 7, 2010
Many thought the season was over before it even began, but the Tar Heels proved otherwise, becoming bowl eligible despite a roster decimated by injuries and suspensions from a two-pronged NCAA investigation. North Carolina was ranked No. 18 in the preseason Associated Press bowl, but fell out of contention for the Coastal Division after a total of 14 players were lost for at least one game and seven were out for the entire season. Standout defensive tackle Marvin Austin, a projected first-round draft pick at the time, was dismissed from the team, and an 0-2 start had the situation looking bleak. UNC responded with a four-game winning streak that put it in contention to win the division. The obstacles kept coming, though, as tight end Zack Pianalto, the team’s leading receiver, suffered a season-ending broken fibula, and Johnny White, the team’s leading rusher, was lost with a broken clavicle. The season was highlighted by performances from players who might not otherwise have had the chance, like White, and his backup, Anthony Elzy. One thing UNC could not overcome, though, was NC State, as the Tar Heels lost for the fourth straight time to coach Tom O’Brien.

Offensive MVP: Quarterback T.J. Yates. He was one of the most improved players in the conference this year, and his leadership and poise were major reasons the program didn’t suffer on the field as much as it did off of it. Yates ranks second in the league in passing yards, pass efficiency and total offense. He also led the league with a 67.6 percent completion rate. Yates finished the regular season completing 259 of 383 attempts for 3,184 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Defensive MVP: Defensive tackle Quinton Coples. He is the only defensive tackle in the league in the top 10 in both sacks (8.5) and tackles for losses (14.0). He also ranks fourth on the team with 53 tackles and has 10 quarterback pressures.

Turning point: The 17-13 win at Rutgers on Sept. 25 gave the Tar Heels the confidence they needed to know they could win, and it started a four-game winning streak that essentially ensured the program of its third straight bowl appearance. Heading into the game, UNC was ravaged by suspensions and unsure of itself after an 0-2 start.

What’s next: The Tar Heels will face Tennessee in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. It’s the third straight bowl appearance under coach Butch Davis, but his future remains uncertain as the NCAA has yet to impose any sanctions for the university’s academic violations and improper dealings with agents and athletes receiving impermissible benefits. UNC officials so far have voiced their support for Davis.

Season recap: Virginia

December, 7, 2010
With a new staff, new schemes and new philosophies, first-year coach Mike London knew his team would be a work in progress this year, but he still had hoped for a better finish. The Hoos surprised almost everyone with their upset of then-No. 22 Miami, but couldn’t build on it and ended the season with four straight losses. There were still individual highlights, as formerly unheralded players like running backs Keith Payne and Perry Jones emerged as dependable options, and Chase Minnifield was a major factor with standout corner Ras-I Dowling injured most of the season. Turnovers and penalties were a problem the entire season, though, as was Virginia’s defense. The Cavalier ranked No. 101 in the country in turnover margin, allowed an average of 28 points per game, and ranked 117th in the nation in fewest penalties per game with 98. Virginia has now lost 13 straight November games, including a seventh-straight loss to rival Virginia Tech in the season finale. London wasn't able to change the postseason fate of Virginia in one year, but he did change the culture.

Offensive MVP: Running back Keith Payne. He led the ACC in scoring at 8.7 points per game with a league-best 16 total touchdowns. His 14 rushing touchdowns ranks No. 3 all-time at UVA and second-most since the end of World War II. He led the team with 749 yards and had three 100-yard games, including 114 yards in his 2010 debut against Richmond - his first action since 2008. Payne also equaled the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game during the modern UVA era with four.

Defensive MVP: Cornerback Chase Minnifield. He finished the regular season No. 2 in the ACC and No. 6 nationally with six interceptions. Twice during the season he was named honorable mention for the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week honor. He also shared ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors on Nov. 1 with teammate Corey Mosley after two interceptions in Virginia’s 24-19 upset of Miami. He finished the season No. 8 on the team with 48 tackles. He also broke up four passes and recorded 0.5 sacks.

Turning point: London had to start over, and he had to start at the beginning by doing something that hadn’t been done at Virginia in five years – win the season opener. It was an important win because it came against London’s former team, Richmond, and Virginia had lost to an FCS team in 2009. In order for things to be different, it had to start there.

What’s next: The staff will get to work in recruiting and try to build on the early success it has already had. Virginia has lured in two ESPNU 150 prospects and three four-star athletes for the No. 18 class in the nation. With at least 17 starters returning, and some depth built through redshirting, a foundation has been laid. Quarterback Marc Verica is graduating, though, so developing his replacement will be critical.

Season recap: Virginia Tech

December, 7, 2010
Nobody could have ever predicted Virginia Tech’s 0-2 start, which included a loss to FCS school James Madison, but to those within the program, what followed came as no surprise. Virginia Tech became the only program in FBS history to follow an 0-2 start with 11 straight wins. The season-opening loss to Boise State immediately shut Virginia Tech out of the national title conversation, but with their 44-33 win over Florida State in the ACC title game, the Hokies have now won four league titles in seven seasons. They also became the first team in league history to beat nine ACC opponents in the same season. They did it with one of the deepest and most talented backfields in the country, averaging 35.5 points per game. ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor’s measureable improvement in the passing game has made him a legitimate dual threat quarterback. The rotating trio of Darren Evans, David Wilson and Ryan Williams has the Hokies ranked No. 18 in rushing offense. And the defense, which had to replace seven starters, has improved throughout the season and recorded 14 interceptions in the past six games. Together they became the first undefeated team in league play since 2000.

Offensive MVP: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor. With three touchdowns against FSU in the title game, Taylor set the school single-season record for touchdown passes with 23. He was the game’s MVP for the second time in his career, and will leave as the winningest quarterback in school history. He leads the ACC in passing efficiency and is fourth in total offense.

Defensive MVP: Cornerback Jayron Hosley. He leads the ACC in passes defended with 15, including a league-high and nationally-best eight interceptions, and he is second in the conference in punt return average. He also leads the nation in interceptions per game (.73), and is one pick shy of setting the school record.

Turning point: Before the game against East Carolina, the seniors called a players-only meeting in the team auditorium. Each senior stood up and talked about how much work they had put into their collegiate careers and how much the season meant to them. Virginia Tech hasn’t lost since.

What’s next: The Hokies will have another chance to make a national statement when they face No. 4 Stanford in the Discover Orange Bowl. The rest of the ACC will be counting on the Hokies to help improve the league’s 2-10 record in BCS bowls. For that to happen, the Hokies’ defense will have to be at its best against Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who leads an offense that averages over 40 points and 200 rushing yards per game.

Season recap: Wake Forest

December, 7, 2010
Growing pains were expected, considering the Wake Forest Demon Deacons had to replace the most winning quarterback in school history, but even coach Jim Grobe and his staff probably didn’t expect it to be quite so painful.

Wake Forest won its first two games and then tumbled into the season finale at Vanderbilt riding a nine-game losing streak. There is a myriad of reasons for the problems, but it started at quarterback when injuries to Ted Stachitas and Skylar Jones changed the offense and the course of the season. The Deacs were forced to turn to true freshman Tanner Price, and while he has given the staff reasons to be confident moving forward, he wasn’t ready to start his career with back-to-back road trips at Stanford and Florida State.

Statistically, Wake Forest was one of the worst teams in the country in nearly every major offensive and defensive category, but one of the most troubling was the 110th ranked scoring defense, which allowed 35.83 points per game. It couldn’t get off the field, and the offense couldn’t stay on.

A lack of fourth and fifth-year seniors forced Grobe to play more young players than he would have liked, but that experience should only help in the future.

Offensive MVP: Running back Josh Harris. He led the team with 720 yards rushing including 241 at Virginia Tech and 138 at Vanderbilt. He had a team-high seven rushing touchdowns and 65.5 yards per game.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Hunter Haynes. He was the Deacs’ most consistent defender and led the team with 77 tackles. He also had 6.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks.

Turning point: The 28-27 loss to Navy was so disheartening to the Deacs they might have let it beat them more than once. For the second straight week, Wake had lost to a triple option team with less than 30 seconds left to play. This loss decreased the program’s chances of getting to a bowl game, and sunk the Deacs to 2-4 with back-to-back road trips to Virginia Tech and Maryland looming.

What’s next: Wake Forest can take some positive momentum from its win over Vanderbilt into the offseason, but in the bigger picture, the program needs to rebuild the depth that has afforded Grobe the luxury of redshirting almost every player who comes into the program. The staff needs to finish this recruiting class strong and continue to develop the younger players who were forced to help early this year.