Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To Win in Atlanta, Wake Forest Will Have to Rely on Senior QB John Wolford

Wake Forest hits the road following its bye week to take on Georgia Tech on Saturday, looking to bounce back from a 28-14 loss to defending national champion Clemson on October 7th. For the Demon Deacons to do well, they're going to have to rely on senior John Wolford to lead the Wake Forest offense. Through the first six games, Wolford has thrown eight touchdown passes with just one interception. The victory at Appalachian State on Sept. 23 was Wolford’s 16th as Wake Forest’s starting quarterback, tying him for third place among Deacon quarterbacks.
Wake Forest QB John Wolford

The senior continues his climb up the Wake Forest record book in career passing and total offense numbers and is just the sixth Deacon quarterback to ever attempt over 1,000 passes, with 1,016 to his credit. Additionally, he is four completions away from becoming the sixth to complete 600 or more passes in a career.

The Deacs’ defense forced a pair of turnovers against Clemson and are now +6 in turnover margin this season, tied for second-best in the ACC and tied for 20th nationally. The defense also averages 9.2 tackles for loss per game, tops nationally.

Redshirt freshman Greg Dortch continued his stellar freshman campaign last time out against Clemson. After hauling in five passes for 78 yards and accounting for 80 return yards against the Tigers, Dortch is second in the ACC and 19th nationally averaging 136 all-purpose yards per game.

Georgia Tech fell to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC with a 25-24 defeat to Miami in the closing seconds last Saturday. The Yellow Jackets are receiving votes in both national polls. Paul Johnson is in his 10th season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets, leading the team to a 73-50 record during his time at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 22-8, but the teams have not met since 2010. In 2006, the Deacs defeated the Yellow Jackets to claim the ACC Championship.

What the Coaches are Saying

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson
“We are headed to Atlanta to play a very good Georgia Tech team, who is really two plays away from being undefeated and ranked in the top 10. They are one-play away in the Tennessee game, the two-point conversion, and if Miami doesn’t convert a 4th-and-10, they are 5-0 and people are mentioning them for being a candidate for the playoff. On offense, they are very talented, extremely well coached and know exactly what they are doing. Their quarterback, Marshall, runs this option excellent. His ability to read the dive, the pitch and throw the football. He makes plays and makes people miss. At times a play can be well defended and he can turn it into something really productive. Their B back is a load, makes people miss and runs over people. Their A backs are fast and good perimeter blocker. This is a very physical offensive line. Sometimes this is an offense that you can run with undersized guys, but their offensive linemen would be good in any scheme. They have guys on the perimeter who can make plays in the passing game as well. They are extremely efficient in throwing it, leading the league in passing efficiency, in addition to rolling up around 400 yards a game on the ground. Defensively, they are second in the ACC and are giving up a little over 300 yards per game. That is their style of play. They don’t give up a lot of big plays. They keep things in front of them. What makes them so effective is that they are really, really good on third down. They are the best defense in the ACC on third down. What happens is they have an offense that keeps the ball and they combine it with a defense that gets off the field on third down. So they win the time of possession. This is a game that when you have the ball on offense, you have to make plays and you have to score because you aren’t going to get a lot of possessions. They have pass rushers and it is an older defense. Their top 12 defensive players, seven are seniors and five are juniors. This is an older, experienced defense that knows what they are doing. It will be a great challenge for us, but we are excited to be playing again.”

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson
“I think they’ve (Wake Forest) got a lot of guys that have played a lot of football on offense. The quarterback has started for three years or four and they’ve got some offensive linemen that have played together for a while. They’ve got a dynamic receiver in [Greg] Dortch who is really a playmaker, a really good tight end and they’re doing much better offensively than they have in the past. So it will be a challenge, certainly… I think they lead the nation in tackles for loss, they’re in the top 20 in scoring defense and they've been really good on defense from the last couple of years. Again, it’s a big challenge. I think #53 the defensive end [Duke] Ejiofor, who gets a lot of pub and he’s a really good player but the guy that’s caught our eye is the other defensive end, Wendell Dunn, he makes a lot of plays. He’s a good player. The two inside guys are strong, play with good leverage. And they’re well coached. The linebacker Jaboree Williams has played for a long time; he’s a senior this year. They’ve got a lot of guys that have played a lot of football.”