100% Cotten

Oct. 28, 2009

I know both teams had to play in it - but it was water for goodness sakes - and Navy is, well, Navy. Water is what they do.

For the tenth straight time in the series, Wake Forest fell behind against the Mids. Seven times, though, in the previous nine meetings the Demon Deacons had found a way to overcome spotting the Academy points. Not this time. After another bruising run by a Navy fullback and Wake out of timeouts, the Deacons had to stand and watch as the seconds ticked away. The Deacs' hopes of another comeback led by future Hall of Famer Riley Skinner sank into the reality of a second consecutive week without a win.

There was no lightning or thunder like in Oxford a few years back, but at times the rain and wind looked almost Biblical. The teams splashed back and forth for a combined 23 points. On a dry day that total would average right around 58.

Two late penalties against the Deacs proved fatal. With Skinner in throw-mode Wake had appeared to make a first down on a toss to midfield before the Deacs found themselves behind the sticks ten yards. Holding. That type of mistake kills drives at over a ninety percent clip according to my radio partner Bill Urbanik who made a nice living in the NFL charting those kinds of statistics. It did this time. And then came the offsides call against the Deacs on a Navy third and four a few minutes later that gave the Mids a first down. That straw was the last one.

We were focused on whether or not John Russell had made contact with the Mids when he jumped - but it was explained to Coach Jim Grobe that Russell's jump across the line of scrimmage before the ball had been snapped had caused a Navy lineman to move - thus the foul.

Can you imagine the outcome of a game coming down to a flinch? Yes - there were 58 or so other minutes for the teams to have done other things - but when they haven't and only a few plays remain, games can be won or lost by an inch, a fingertip or the twitch of an arm.

One yellow flag can be the difference. But two will get you every time.

So now the Deacs must move ahead and prepare for a pretty tough gauntlet. They've got the two ACC Florida teams, both at home, and trips to option-minded Georgia Tech and finally Duke. That's a touch stretch no matter how you look at it.

The current senior class has an opportunity to be the winningest class ever, but it will take 33 wins. After the loss at Annapolis the total is 32 and holding. I think the Deacs will rebound, get to the number and then some. But it won't be easy. It'll take the seniors to snap the Deacs out of this two game funk and get back on track.

Technically Challenged

Of course basketball is basically here and that always makes for more excitement. It seems every year hoops sneaks up a little bit more to mix end with the end of football season. I think we'll have it all covered on the Wake Forest ISP Sports Network. The biggest challenge looms on Thanksgiving weekend. In football the Deacons will travel to Durham for the regular season finale against Duke. On the same day the basketball Deacs are set to face William & Mary in Winston-Salem. The basketball game is set for 7:00, but the kickoff time between the Deacs and Blue Devils is to be determined. Odds are that the kick will be at Noon or 3:30. A 3:30 kickoff would present a hurdle for us, but rest assured we're already weighing our options.

Stay tuned!

Spring Game