The schedule shows two games remaining, but in yesterday's 37-6 loss to N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium, Wake Forest looked for all the world like a team that was done.
And if the Deacs weren't done by halftime, Tobais Palmer's 100-yard return of the second-half kickoff certainly did them in.
"It was kind of like a dagger in the heart to us,'' senior linebacker Riley Haynes said. "It was devastating to see that.''
Afterward, I felt obliged to ask Jim Grobe a question no beat reporter ever wants to ask a coach he covers, especially not one he respects and admires.
I asked if his team had anything left in the tank for the final two games at Notre Dame next week and at home against Vandy on Nov. 24.
"We’ll find out,'' Grobe said. "We’ve got two games left and we’ve got a pretty good challenge coming up next week going up to South Bend, and Vanderbilt kind of had their way with us at our place last year.
"They’re two really good football teams, and it’s a great challenge for our guys. We’ll see if we can get them back.''
He certainly didn't have them yesterday, at least not the ones responsible for putting points on the board. The Deacons' nickel-and-dime offense that carried the day last week against BC depleted all its available funds on one play, Michael Campanaro's 39-yard trick-play flanker pass to Terence Davis.
Otherwise all Wake could scrape up was 146 yards on one dump pass after another. Tanner Price completed 18 of 33 passes for all of 113 yards, with only four of the passes gaining more than 10 yards. The longest was a 19-yard completion to Davis after the Wolfpack led 37-6 and the victory celebration was in full swing.
It bears noting as well that Price was sacked five times.
"The problem that we’ve got is we certainly had some issues up front, running and throwing the football, protecting the quarterback,'' Grobe said. " And then I thought the receivers had some opportunity to make plays and didn’t make them. And then Tanner didn’t play very well, I don’t think.
"We’re kind of in a deal where it’s probably not fair, but Tanner can’t play average. If he plays average, we can’t win. When we do have throws, when we do protect, when we do have receivers, we’ve got to hit them.
"So it’s not anybody’s fault, but I think the whole combination of not getting people blocked at times in the run and the throw game up front, and then we had a lot of trouble tonight separating.
"They played a lot of man coverage, more man coverage than we had expected, more than we had seen out of them. Maybe they played quite a bit against one of the other teams this year, but we haven’t seen it consistently.
"We’ve just struggled to get off man coverage, and to protect long enough to get Tanner a chance to have people get free.''