This certainly looked like a different Wake Forest team Thursday night at BB&T Field. Behind a dominant defense and an offense that simply wasn’t there last season, the Demon Deacons kicked off Year 2 of the Dave Clawson era in pleasant fashion, routing Elon 41-3. Here’s how it all went down:
Player of the game: John Wolford dazzled in his 13th career start, completing 20 of 27 passes for 323 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers. His biggest play came in the second quarter, when the sophomore broke off a 70-yard touchdown run to give the Deacs a 24-0 lead. Wolford notched his first career 300-yard passing game and first career rushing touchdown, eventually giving way to true freshman Kendall Hinton, who completed 9 of 13 passes for 65 yards and rushed it twice for 12 yards.
Stat of the game: Wake Forest rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 42 carries, an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Just how big is that? Consider that total was nearly half of the Deacs’ final tally for all of last season, when they finished next-to-last nationally with 479 rushing yards and four scores, at a 1.25 yards-per-carry clip.
What the win means for Wake Forest: Yes, this was an FCS team that Wake routed, but this has to be encouraging for Clawson & Co., who did a good job of not letting the misery of last season’s 3-9 campaign bleed into this year. Wolford looked great, the rushing offense was miles ahead of last season and the defense -- which was pretty good last year -- did exactly what it needed to do against the Phoenix, holding them to 151 total yards of offense. Next week’s ACC tilt at Syracuse looks a little more interesting.
What the loss means for Elon: Pick up and move on. There’s not much else you can do when coming off a 1-11 season, especially on a roster that holds an astounding 33 true freshmen.