Well, this will have some interesting perspective given the timing of getting home and having a chance to dive into this thing.
It’s the day after Jamie Newman announced he’s entering the transfer portal.
If you missed the reaction story I wrote, it’s here.
So re-watching the bowl game will be interesting, knowing that it was Newman’s last game as a Deacon — players in the transfer can return to their school, but Newman’s statement doesn’t seem to leave that as a possibility.
I’ll throw this here instead of at the end: Thanks for reading these, however much of it you actually read. If you get mad and hang up, per se, before the end, I understand. I’m going into it thinking it was probably the most-frustrating game of the season to watch.
So however much you read, thanks. And however many of these you read throughout the season, also thanks.
If I do any of them for basketball, I’ll try to keep them light and fun — well, as much as possible.
Here’s what I picked up on while re-watching the Pinstripe Bowl:
• Michigan State’s kickoff goes out of bounds. At some point in this game, I leaned over to the person next to me and said both of these teams’ kickoff units were afraid of their own shadows.
• Two powerful 5-yard runs from Cade Carney to start the game, and then he breaks off a 13-yarder. The long one was really well-blocked — including an impressive block by Donavon Greene on a safety.
• Newman gets hit by five players on his first run, which is a scramble after he didn’t make a throw to Kendall Hinton, who slipped coming out of his break.
• Good third-and-1 run by Carney, cutting outside for a 4-yard run.
• Hinton made a fantastic move on a safety for the touchdown. Newman does a great job of standing tall in the pocket and dropping the ball over the top.
• Nice play by Traveon Redd on the first kickoff. But man, kickoffs have gotta be in the top five of issues to address for this team in the next eight months.
• Excellent play by Amari Henderson on second down to blow up a screen.
• Ja’Corey Johns comes free on a stunt on third-and-4 and blasts Brian Lewerke, who throws way over the head of his receiver and out of bounds anyway.
I remembered how perfect Wake Forest’s first offensive possession was, but man, forgot the first defensive possession was that way, too.
• Wake Forest’s first two possessions started at the 35-yard line — first play is a read-option left that goes nowhere.
• Newman throws high for Greene, who climbs the ladder for a 7-yard catch.
• Heck of a scramble on third-and-2 by Newman to avoid the free blitzer up the middle, escape to the right for the first down.
• First-down sack happens because Jacob Slade bull-rushes Sean Maginn.
• Miscommunication with Greene on third-and-9 — Newman wanted him to break off his route to the sideline; Greene was still headed downfield.
• 50-yard punts with net of 30 because of a touchback are awful plays.
• Great play on first down by Ryan Smenda Jr. for a TFL.
Btw: Linebacker shapes up as a deep and talented position for this team next year. Smenda improved throughout the season and Ja’Cquez Williams was very much ready for his expanded role after Justin Strnad suffered his season-ending injury. But with DJ Taylor, Chase Monroe, Chase Jones, Jaylen Hudson and Zach Ranson in the mix, that’s a deep position entering the spring.
• Essang Bassey was at safety for this possession and Michigan State breaks a screen for 23 yards because Bassey misses with a bad angle.
“Started that at the beginning of bowl prep,” Bassey said of how long he’d been working at safety. “Just, I knew the defense well enough to make that switch, it wasn’t too crazy.”
Not having Scotty Washington for this game hurt Wake Forest; not having Nasir Greer for this game was crippling. Which isn’t to say Bassey didn’t play well, all things considered.
But having your best cover-CB move to safety — where he’s never played in college — for parts of the bowl game isn’t really ideal.
• Jet sweep on second down goes for 10 yards — nice play by MSU.
• Another second-and-10 and another substantial gain, a 9-yard run by Anthony Williams Jr. This drive has seen MSU pick up 42 yards on three combined plays, all of them coming on second-and-long.
Boogie Basham looked to be in position to make a TFL, but Williams cut back against the grain and nobody was there in pursuit.
• Third-down sneak by Lewerke is the first positive yardage on a down other than second on this drive.
• That’s where being a senior QB with pocket awareness helps. On first down, Basham wins around the edge but just as he’s in position to swipe at the ball for a strip-sack, Lewerke pulls it down and runs for 7 yards.
• Oof. First camera shot of a good chunk of the fans.
Let’s just say the announced crowd of 36,895 was, umm … “announced.”
• Third-and-3 conversion on a Lewerke sprint-out RPO, as he flips to Cody White for 10 yards. It’s well-defended, Lewerke just makes a nice play and White does well to get free.
• Great open-field tackle by Bassey on first down screen.
• Elijah Collins breaks through for 15 yards on … you guessed it, second-and-long. So, I said what I said about Greer — the other part of this for Wake Forest’s defense was the Deacons had a four-man rotation at defensive tackle all season, and it was a pretty good one. All of a sudden for this game, Sulaiman Kamara and Rondell Bothroyd out, which meant zero-to-little rest for Tyler Williams and Dion Bergan Jr.
• Chase Jones is going to be a really good linebacker for Wake Forest.
• Smenda comes on a second-down blitz up the middle and makes a nice play to avoid cut block from the running back, forces Lewerke to throw it away.
• Pre-snap adjustment to MSU’s motion on third-and-goal is key, and Ja’Sir Taylor and Henderson perfectly communicate change. That, getting Basham matched up on a running back and Johns winning his pass-rush matchup on Lewerke’s blindside make for a really good third-and-goal play for the defense.
Nice rally with backs against the goal line after a lengthy MSU drive.
• Didn’t realize how close Basham was to blocking this field goal. He’s going to be a terror next season.
Worth filing away: He has 15½ sacks in his career, which is sixth in school history. He’s eight away from tying Duke Ejiofor for third; the top two are Mike McCrary (30) and Calvin Pace (29).
• Jack Freudenthal couldn’t believe this penalty was called on him during Hinton’s kick return to the 40-yard line.
And you know what? He’s absolutely right to be livid. The guy he locked up with went to a knee without anything Freudenthal did, and then pulled away and lost his balance and fell down. That’s not a hold.
• I heard about this interview with the groundskeeper being bad and … wow. It’s #NotGoodDino.
• It’s also #NotGoodDino to overthrow 6-1 Jaquarii Roberson on a screen.
• Just such a freaky play on the pick-6 – I mean, how pick-6s for defensive tackles aren’t freaky, fluke plays?
The only part of this that should’ve been avoided was Newman throwing the ball in this direction — Greene isn’t really open. It doesn’t look like Roberson or Brandon Chapman, the other players in the frame, are open either.
But a batted-down pass at the line that ricochets off the running back’s head into a defensive tackle’s hands for a pick-6? Queue Ron Burgundy’s “I’m not even mad, I’m impressed” GIF.
• Wake Forest gets to start at the 42-yard line because of the celebration penalty. And …
• Blown-up run on first down isn’t great, but a nice little 6-yard pass to Greene on a slant sets up third-and-manageable.
• Here’s the first chop block call and I don’t think it’s that egregious of a call. It looked to me like Maginn had arms out on the defender and then Kenneth Walker III cuts him, and by definition that’s a chop block.
• Third-and-20 after the penalty and Newman scrambles for 18 yards, getting to the 50. I thought Wake Forest should’ve gone for this — fourth-and-2 from midfield, just gave up 10 straight points, just gained 18 yards on third down.
• I’m going to miss watching Dayton Diemel sprint down the field to cover punts.
• Ja’Cquez Williams makes a nice play to end the first quarter.
• Lewerke throws wild on second down, can’t find anybody open on third down. Nice three-and-out for the Deacons.
• Two runs to start this drive, netting 4 yards. And then on third down it’s an overthrown go route to Steve Claude. Kinda uninspired.
• Wake Forest bottles up a jet sweep on first down.
• Jarring hit on third-and-4 by Bassey, which pops the ball loose and prevents a third-down conversion. He’s a cornerback in the NFL, I think, but playing safety and making a few plays in the bowl game hints at some versatility that certainly won’t hurt his future.
• I can’t believe Hinton got tackled by the punter. Man, he had that touchdown after squeezing through a few narrow creases. I mean … I’m sure it matters little now. Wake Forest scores on this drive.
Just would’ve been a nice little wrap on Hinton’s career to have another variety of touchdown.
• If Roberson is going to the starting slot next season, which he’s in line to be, can’t have false starts.
• This is where the Nolan Groulx sighting occurs. Didn’t get a target, lined up wide. It’ll be interesting to track his development in the spring.
• Walker with a strong burst up the middle to regain the penalty yardage. Speaking of interesting developments in the spring — Wake Forest figures to have two in-house running backs capable of starting (Walker and Christian Beal-Smith) and two incoming freshmen who could contribute early (Quinton Cooley of Southern Nash and Ahmani Marshall of East Forsyth).
• Offensive line gets dominated on second-down run.
• Third-and-7 is a QB draw (I think; high snap might have disrupted timing) and Newman runs for 15 yards. Really a dynamic run — found a seam and hit it. Juked a safety. Was one missed tackle away from breaking it for a touchdown.
• Walker is the type of running back who will break a 20-yarder when there’s nothing there, but he’ll also get TFL’d when trying to make too much happen. The coaching staff’s challenge for the next couple of years (at least) will be to get him to realize when to dive into the line for 3-4 yards instead of taking a TFL — without compromising the electricity he brings on the longer runs.
• That was brought on watching him take a TFL on first down while trying to break outside. Second down is Newman losing his footing on a read-option. And then …
• MSU brings six rushers, pocket collapsing and Newman makes a great throw to Greene, who makes a better catch in the end zone. Man, Wake Forest had a lot of one-handed catches this season and this one is right up there (along with Greene against Duke, Hinton against Florida State and Sage Surratt against Boston College).
“I didn’t really work the release, the corner, he was holding a little bit,” Greene said of the play. “Threw it a little back-shoulder, didn’t really expect it. I looked back, caught it.”
• I’ll point this out: It’s strange that Newman seemingly didn’t celebrate this touchdown at all. He barely gets congratulated on the way to the bench. I’m not saying he’s in the wrong for being stoic about a touchdown pass — it’s just against what we’ve normally seen all year from him after touchdowns.
Read into that what you want.
• Another really good play from Williams. So let’s look at his stats in the last seven games of the year, which means the first of those was the Florida State game in which Strnad was injured.
60 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, 2½ sacks, 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU.
• Geez, forgot the next play was the 64-yard catch and run to the tight end down the middle. It seems like Coby Davis blew the coverage.
Also among things that would really help next season’s team: If Davis regains his 2017, spring/fall camp ’18 form. He wasn’t the same player this season that he was before his torn ACL.
• Lewerke makes a nice play on the touchdown on the next play. Manny Walker is the defensive end on that side and he gets sucked down the line too far, opening up space for Lewerke.
• Obvious hold on A.T. Perry negates Hinton’s kick return to the 35.
• 5-yard run on first down, that’s a good play 95% of the time.
• Adam Amin with a dynamite reference to the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing practices. And has called a really good game to this point, I should note.
Btw, this play was a good 10-yard scramble by Newman to convert a third-and-5.
• Wow. Fantastic run on the next play by Newman for 19 yards. Makes something out of nothing.
Well … that’s going to be missed.
• Carney and Kenny Willekes in a little shoving match after a play. Nothing major (like I know is coming from Willekes later).
• Newman gets leveled by two defenders as he releases the 44-yard touchdown to Freudenthal. And again, he trots to the bench without anything resembling a celebration.
• I guess it’s fitting, in a way, for Newman’s last touchdown throw for Wake Forest to go to the same player as one of the ones he’ll be remembered for.
• Wake Forest has 234 yards of offense in the first 23:41 of this game.
Wake Forest had 117 yards of offense in the final 36:19 of this game.
• Nice PBU by Bassey on first down. Henderson was behind the play and didn’t appear injured, but then went down about 10 seconds after collision.
I’m almost positive he came back in shortly.
• Isaiah Essissima came in for Henderson — which is a good time for a reminder that he might be in the top five of players that Wake Forest needs to take a large developmental step in the spring.
• MSU just worked its way down the field on this drive, and it’s one of those drives for Wake Forest’s defense with one step forward, one step back. Make a good play on a deep ball, give up a 10-yard jet sweep. Bottle up a run for minimal gain, give up 18 yards playing soft coverage.
I think that happens when a defense is inexperienced. Which — Wake Forest is in certain parts. But just can’t sustain a good play to another good play and force an advantageous down-and-distance.
I don’t know what the solution is other than to be deeper and older next year.
• Bassey makes a great play to stay at home for a second-and-3 TFL.
• Third-down conversion because MSU runs a bunch formation and Wake Forest loses track of the guy in the middle – I mean, I wouldn’t get too upset about that. Well-designed and executed play.
• Redd with a great first-down play to slip the tight end and make a TFL.
• And a good second-down play to force third-and-10. First time on this drive that a good play from the defense was followed by another one. Guess what happens next?
Another big play with a third-down sack by Basham. Good things happen when you don’t give up chunks every other play. Who knew?
• Now for how strange this end-of-half situation was.
First: I apologize for not asking Dave Clawson about it after the game. I whiffed — it should’ve been my second question to him.
There is about 1:25 left on Basham’s sack and there absolutely should’ve been a timeout here. Instead, Matt Coghlin’s 44-yard field goal goes through with 49 seconds left.
It’s not a two-minute drive if you only have 43 seconds to work with (after Walker’s return took off 6 seconds).
What an awful spot on Newman’s scramble on the first play. He gets to the 41, which would be a first down, and the side judge has him behind the 40.
Deep shot to Freudenthal is empty, now 18 seconds left and you’ve got a third-and-1. Have to get the first down, obviously.
Carney rumbles for 8 yards but takes 8 seconds in doing so. There are 10-year-olds playing Madden who know that using your first timeout with 10 seconds left in the half is poor clock management.
Man, I’m so curious what the thought process was here. Because I don’t think Clawson just forgot he had timeouts. So I’m kicking myself again for not asking about it after the game.
I think the offside is blown dead because Justin Herron moved — so Matt Hasselbeck is right, the play was correctly blown dead.
I have no idea what the plan was on the next play — throw deep to the 5-yard line to Freudenthal along the sideline, and Newman gets hit as he throws (again).
The only more puzzling than that play is the one that ends the half — a kneel. From MSU’s 47. You don’t get a refund for the two timeouts you take to halftime.
What a strange sequence. And that’s being generous.
• OK, on we march to the second half.
• Lewerke comes out with another dud of an incompletion and Collins has a 4-yard run to start MSU’s first drive — now I really want to see how they convert here.
• Empty backfield, everything covered initially and the tight end uses a little push/spin on Smenda to create separation. It’s not enough to warrant OPI (what is, these days?), Smenda just needs to be stronger there, I’d say.
• Swing pass to Collins around midfield and Henderson wraps him up 3 yards short of the sticks, but Collins fights and falls forward for an extra 2 yards.
• Lewerke keeps on a speed-option and barely gets the first down. Had no idea from where I was watching that it was that close.
• On the next play, Coby Davis misses a tackle on Collins in the hole, Trey Rucker takes an awful angle and Collins breaks loose for 31 yards to the 13-yard line.
That’s the back-breaker. He had 12 carries for 27 yards before that carry.
• Two plays later, there’s the game-winning touchdown. Hasselbeck calls it perfectly with a warning for a play-action pass. Lewerke hits Cody White on a rollout.
You could’ve taken a lot of money from me if you’d bet me that this would be the game-deciding score at this moment.
• Pooch kick to the 10, returned to the 35 by Walker. It’s going to be really interesting in the spring to see if he or Christian Beal-Smith gets the first call as the No. 1 running back.
• First play of the second half is the fake-screen, look deep play that so often leads to deep shots — instead it’s a 9-yard comebacker to Steve Claude.
• Nice little 3-yard run by Carney to pick up the first down — think a second-and-1 from the 44 could’ve seen a little more aggressive play call, though.
• Underthrown hitch to Hinton on first down; Newman couldn’t step into the throw because a DT blasted the middle of the line.
• Second down, Hinton drops a pass over the middle. Hit him in the hands, should’ve been a catch, no other way to look at that.
• There’s the second chop block call. A little more bang-bang than the first and not nearly as obvious, I think. Sean Maginn had barely engaged — it’s not even clear he has hands on Willekes — when Carney cut-blocks.
I don’t think this should’ve been called, but wonder if it was because refs were looking for it after calling the first one. Also, not sure how much of a difference it would’ve made — the result of the play was a throw short of the sticks to Claude, so it would’ve been about fourth-and-4 from the 48. Game plan appeared to be conservative and I don’t think you need to go for that when down six and only six minutes into the second half.
• Incredible lack of awareness leads to delay of game after the chop block. Third-and-25 becomes third-and-30.
• Newman gets some of the yardage back with a scramble. I’m surprised it wasn’t a draw.
• I miss … Pillows!
• Short pass on first down, short run on second down, jet sweep bottled up on third down by Smenda, Johns and Rucker. Nice three-and-out for the defense.
My feelings on this might change, but for now: Imagine watching this game and thinking Wake Forest’s defense was the problem. I mean … the pass over the top to the tight end was a backbreaker and the long run after allowing the fourth-down conversion was a problem. But that stuff happens. Maybe it’s a matter of expectations being lower for a defense missing three of its five best players, but I just haven’t felt like that unit should take the brunt of blame for this (so far).
• First-down run, just zero push from the O-line.
• Nice catch for 9 yards by Jaquarii Roberson on second-and-7. He’ll enter the spring as the leader in the clubhouse to start in the slot and has been a camp standout for a couple of years now — the Deacons need that to translate to Saturdays when it matters.
• First down is a weird play: It’s a Walker run, but Newman fakes a screen to Roberson. While Newman is faking the screen, Walker tries to jump cut because Willekes power-rushes Freudenthal and is one of three Spartans in the backfield.
Just a clunky play that never really had a chance.
• Slow-developing bubble screen to Walker gets 3 yards, so it’s third-and-7.
• Newman throws a little wide of Roberson on third down and he can’t make the catch.
Former center Ryan Anderson is one of the smartest players I’ve talked to, and I find myself constantly reminding myself of something he said often: That Wake Forest’s offense needed to get that first first down, and then it would click into high gear.
Two possessions into the second half, both times the Deacons got one first down and then just fizzled. Odd.
• Blown coverage on the first play leads to an 18-yard completion, which would’ve been worse if Lewerke didn’t lead the WR out of bounds. Tough to tell who even blew the coverage — there’s nobody within 10 yards of Jalen Nailor.
• Embarrassing amount of missed tackles on the next play. Also, Zach Ranson is in the game. Late in the third quarter. Of a bowl game. And this was his fourth game, the first meaningful snaps of his season.
Geez. Less than ideal, I’d say.
• Screen pass to the other side and it goes for 14 yards.
OK, I’m willing to re-examine what I said about the defense.
• Henderson quells the death-by-screens by making a tackle after 3 yards.
• There’s MSU’s wide-receiver pass. So, because some of you probably want to turn that into a referendum and rage about why Kendall Hinton hasn’t thrown a pass in two years, I’ll say this:
It should be more offensive that Dom Maggio, the punter and holder for four seasons and former high school quarterback, never attempted a pass.
• There’s Smenda’s interception, which is luckier than it’s a good play. Lewerke throws high and outside of Collins on a crossing route and it falls into Smenda’s lap.
And then lucky becomes incredibly lucky when Smenda tries to lateral to Bassey and fumbles, but Bassey falls on it. Not the smartest of plays, but just trying to make a play, and it’s hard to be too worked up about that.
• Two 3-yard runs to start the ensuing drive, there’s not much there. Just clogged up running lanes and penetration.
• Newman bulls his way to a 4-yard run on third-and-4 — this is where you’d think Wake Forest would go tempo and try to fire into high gear.
• Tons of pressure and Newman tries a version of a jump pass down the sideline to Greene, who almost makes a miraculous catch. So, they tried to take a shot.
• Rollout on second down and the throw is there, but a little wide, of a diving Greene. One of those instances of: could’ve been a better throw, also could’ve been caught.
• A.T. Perry is one of the 10-most intriguing players going into the spring, because he’s got some serious potential. The 28-yard catch on third down isn’t the greatest example to say that, but it’s a chance.
• Newman gave up on the first-down play too early and tried to scramble up the middle; instead, took a 4-yard loss on a sack.
• Whatever the future holds for Newman, he’s gotta read underneath coverages better.
• Third-and-14 and it’s a 6-yard run by Carney — it’s curious that that was enough yardage to go for it on fourth down.
But MSU wasn’t prepared and had to burn a timeout. It’s a fair assumption that Wake Forest would’ve gotten an exploitable matchup if that timeout isn’t called.
Granted, it was called, and fourth-and-8 from the 38 when you’ve struggled to protect the QB for most of the night … strange place to press the issue.
• Greene beats Josiah Scott, who declared for the draft in the past week, off of the line but it’s overthrown. If Greene had made a catch here it wouldn’t have counted because Maginn was called for a hands-to-the-face penalty – but there’s stock to be put in the fact that Greene beat one of the top CBs in the country in this situation.
• Wake Forest’s defense making things a little too easy here — 12-yard run on first play, 6-yard screen and then Tyler Williams jumps offside, 9-yard run on ensuing first down.
• Geez, and then a 17-yard pass to White in front of soft coverage.
• Does Mark Dantonio ever actually talk to anybody during games? I mean … every time they’ve shown him, he’s just been staring daggers at the field, at his players, at, uh, life, I guess.
• What a huge play in a huge spot by Ja’Cquez Williams. MSU marching and marching, he rips the ball out from Gillison as he’s going down inside the 10. If Wake Forest had come back to win this, this would’ve been one of the 3-4 most important plays in the comeback. But … alas.
• Really well-blocked run for 9 yards on the first play by Walker.
And here’s the late hit by Willekes and … yikes. One play doesn’t define a player, but that’s an awful look for a senior. It’s a clear late hit, should’ve been flagged. He’s not even close to being pushed onto Walker.
• Another second-and-1 — albeit, this time not from midfield — when Wake Forest is content to just plunge into the line for the first down.
• First down deep shot after picking up the first first down of the drive. The offense got really, really predictable.
• Another second-and-1 and it’s opened up a little bit with a bubble screen to Hinton, which becomes an 8-yard gain. That’s more like it.
Will add, though: 10 minutes left in the game and this is Hinton’s first catch since his touchdown on the opening drive. MSU gets some credit for that; Wake Forest gets some blame, too.
• Ngassam Nya gets blown by for a first-down sack.
This thing is getting long on me and I can’t remember all that I’ve put in, so I don’t know if this is a repeat, but: Offensive line is a concern for next season.
• Good second-and-long play, Newman to Hinton, to get 11 yards and set up third-and-8.
• Newman breaks the pocket way too early on third-and-8. Claude gets crushed on a route that’s not called and Hinton is covered across the middle, but the crux of the issue here is it’s a three-man rush with a spy and Newman takes off way too early.
If there’s one single offensive play I’d love to get an explanation of what happened — from literally any of, let’s say, six people — this is the one.
• This punt was a wild play.
• Tyler Williams draws a hold — I wish there was a way to track penalties drawn, because I would think he’s atop the list for Deacons defensive linemen.
• First-and-15 from the 5 and Wake Forest’s soft coverage allows a 16-yard pass. Yeah, rescind my comments on the defense.
• Manny Walker is in the game for this drive, which tells me a couple of things: Johns was either injured or worn down late in this game; and Shamar McCollum hit a freshman wall sometime in November and never broke through.
• Basham with a second-down bat-down at the line. Well done.
• Lewerke makes a big-time throw on third-and-7, with Ja’Sir Taylor giving outside leverage to Cody White. Kinda simple, a senior QB made a nice throw, safety help was late over the top.
• And then on the next play it’s a 23-yard catch-and-run. Henderson comes up to try and make a play and the ball floats on him.
• Walker drew a holding call on a reverse, a key play. It’s not a good call. Based on this game and the regular-season finale at Syracuse, he might be the one guy in the portal that Wake Forest might hold on to.
(I think there’s zero chance that Newman returns)
• Dear God.
Dantonio said something (into his headset).
• Lewerke keeps around the end and Rucker whiffs on a tackle, while Walker has to chase him down from behind.
Twenty-four yards. Wow.
• At least Wake Forest used its timeouts in the second half.
• And at least Wake Forest’s defense bowed up and stuffed three drain-the-clock plays in a row to force the short field goal attempt.
• Coghlin misses and at this point, I’m writing a lede about Wake Forest’s bowl magic still working.
• Three-man rush on first down, catchable ball delivered to Freudenthal and it’s knocked away (I think) by the defender behind the senior tight end.
• Fantastic awareness by Hinton to pick up the fumble and preserve the slimming hopes. And that’s Newman’s final play as a Deacon.
• Replay reviews are awful. That never changes.
• Sam Hartman comes in and geez, he really did almost hit Greene in stride. Pretty impressive for your first throw of the game.
• Hartman slips twice, maybe thrice, on the final play and I swear, when he escaped the pocket and uncorked that throw down the middle, I was certain somebody was coming down with it.
The rest of this is simple. MSU gets a first down.
Wake Forest’s possible dream season fizzled, I don’t think anybody who watched this team would debate that. This was a chance to have a special season and instead, the Deacons lost four of their last five games.
It’ll make for an interesting next 7-8 months, to see what steps are taken to avoid the injury pitfalls and to build depth and to reconstruct some parts of the roster.
• OK, now let me say my peace:
I’m sure the Pinstripe Bowl was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for players and coaches and staff. Doing everything they did across four days in New York before the game, how could it not be?
And I’m sure playing a football game in an iconic baseball stadium is awesome. Wake Forest’s fans seemed to soak in the experience and the “Wake-Forest” chants were indeed, loud.
But this bowl sucked for media. Watching football from the end zone is miserable. It’s worse when live stats don’t work for the first quarter. Yankee Stadium has an open-air press box, so I’m guess I’m grateful it only got down to about 45 degrees. Being seated on the opposite side of the press box from Wake Forest officials is miserable, because during games I need to bounce things off of those people.
The 12:30 media shuttle from the hotel wasn’t going to show up until 12:55 — I don’t know when it actually showed up, I bailed. We were told, when bowl officials came to Winston-Salem after the announcement, that we’d be permitted to stay in the stadium as late as we wanted to work because, quite simply, the organization running the bowl owns the stadium (the Yankees). So being kicked out of the press box at 10:30, with 10 minutes of notice, was fantastic.
Ya know what?
I don’t blame George Costanza for dragging a World Series trophy around in the parking lot.