Deacs end season with trouncing against Vandy

Where did the time go?

Photo courtesy of Media Relations

Just six years removed from an improbable 11-3 season and trip to the Orange Bowl, the 2012 Demon Deacons have failed to recapture any of the magic from head coach Jim Grobe’s 2006 ACC Championship squad.

With everything to play for Nov. 24, Wake Forest (5-7, 3-5) suffered another devastating blowout, this time at the hands of SEC-rival Vanderbilt (8-4, 5-3).

The 55-21 defeat marked the third straight and fifth time overall this season that the Demon Deacons have been outscored by four or more touchdowns.

The surging Commodores found the endzone on their opening possession of the game, capping off an 85-yard drive when quarterback Jordan Rodgers found Wesley Tate for a 25-yard score.

Wake Forest answered on its following drive, which lasted over seven minutes and included 16 plays. Senior fullback Tommy Bohanon recorded his first rushing attempt of the season when he punched the ball into the endzone on a fourth-and-goal play, tying the game at seven.

After that things unraveled quickly, and suddenly the Demon Deacons were down 28-7 at halftime.

The offense opened the second half with the ball, and after a three-and-out, summarily had their punt blocked and returned for a touchdown.

Playing against a Vanderbilt team that had won five straight contents entering Saturday’s game, Wake Forest clearly was out-played and out-coached.

Photo courtesy of Media Relations

“I think it’s just the whole attitude around the program,” redshirt junior Michael Campanaro said to Dan Collins of the Winston-Salem Journal. “I was looking around tonight and you know the game’s on one end and I see a bunch of guys huddled up around the heater on the other end. That’s just a losing attitude.”

Those are pretty powerful words coming from the wide receiver, and he was not the only player to express dissatisfaction with other players and the coaching staff. This is certainly not an attitude Grobe would want his players to embody during their most important game of the season.

Even given this crushing defeat, Wake Forest could still make a bowl game in almost ironic fashion.

Due to the probation status of so many eligible teams, a 5-7 squad with a high APR (Academic Progress Rate) such as Wake Forest, could actually have a legitimate chance of earning a bowl bid.

“Judging by these past three games, I don’t know how much our team really deserves to go a bowl game right now,” sophomore quarterback Tanner Price said. “We just haven’t been competitive the last couple weeks, and it’s disappointing.”

Coach Grobe offered similar sentiments.

“I just think right now we’re not a very good football team.”

What then is there to look forward to for next season?

With so many young players on the roster, both the offense and defense will return the majority of their starters and have plenty of experience for the 2013 campaign. Also, a healthy offensive line should certainly benefit the production of Price as well as running backs Josh Harris and Deandre Martin.

In 2005, Wake Forest lost seven games under Grobe; the following year, the Demon Deacons collected a school-record 11 wins and secured their second-ever conference championship.

One can only hope that history repeats itself.