Wake Forest travels north to face winless Army
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson isn't exactly where he'd like to be - coming off a road loss to open the Atlantic Coast Conference season and headed north to face winless Army.
''Their backs are against the wall and this is certainly a program and a place that when their backs are against the wall, they're going to come out fighting,'' Clawson said. ''It's a program with tremendous pride and tremendous history.
''In some ways you wish they would have got their first win because they're going to be a team that's hungry. I hope our players are as hungry after not getting the job done last week at Syracuse.''
The Demon Deacons (1-1) led the Orange at halftime last week, then failed to score in the second half and lost 30-17.
Army (0-2) is coming off a 22-17 loss at UConn, making it two defeats by a combined seven points.
''We didn't do a good job on maintaining possessions, and you can't do that when you play our style of offense,'' second-year Army coach Jeff Monken said. ''This week, hopefully, we can do a better job of controlling the ball.''
Some things to know when Army hosts Wake Forest on Saturday:
Army's triple option keeps it on the ground for the most part, and Monken says maintaining possession of the ball is vital for success. So far, the Black Knights, usually the smaller team on game day, are slumping in that category, averaging 25 minutes, 56 seconds. Connecticut held the ball for 39 minutes, and Army was able to run just 41 plays on offense. Wake Forest is fourth nationally in time of possession at 36:33 and has allowed just 21 first downs.
''I think it is important to control the ball and give the opposing team fewer opportunities with the ball because of the nature of what we do offensively and who we are physically,'' Monken said. ''Typically, we are better if we can hold the ball and keep our defense off the field and force the opposing offense to press and get out of their rhythm.''
Wake Forest was torched at Syracuse by big plays, including decisive touchdown passes of 89 and 53 yards in the second half. Now the Demon Deacons face a similar challenge. In the loss to UConn, Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for a 56-yard touchdown and backup A.J. Schurr threw a 71-yard touchdown.
''We gave up too many big plays,'' Clawson said. ''You can't overcome giving up as many big plays as we did.''
WHERE'S THE RUSH?
Army is averaging 218 yards rushing per game, down significantly from the average of 331 over the previous four years, though the Black Knights still are averaging a solid 5.8 yards per carry, mainly because of Bradshaw. In his first year as the starter, the sophomore is averaging 136 yards rushing per game and has three TDs rushing and two passing.
''He is excellent,'' Clawson said. ''He is a very elusive and a very dangerous player who is a perfect fit for what they're doing on offense.''
Wake Forest QB John Wolford had a terrific first half against Syracuse and threw for a career-high 373 yards. In two games, Wolford is 50 of 72 passing for 696 yards with four TDs and three interceptions. He's also run for two scores.
''I think John has been playing at a very high level,'' Clawson said. ''He's very accurate. He's done a good job of getting us into the right plays.''
Army is perfect in the red zone, going 4 for 4 and scoring touchdowns on each possession inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Unfortunately for the Black Knights, Fordham and UConn combined to score six touchdowns in 12 trips inside the 20 and only were stopped once from scoring any points.
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