College Football: Wake struggling on offense
By Aaron Beard
WINSTON-SALEM ó Unlike previous Jim Grobe Wake Forest teams, the Demon Deacons are struggling to move the chains or put points on the board this season with their rushing attack.
Wake Forest has managed just one offensive touchdown in three Atlantic Coast Conference games and is coming off its first shutout loss in a decade. The Demon Deacons rank near the bottom of the league in both rushing and scoring offense; their rushing totals are the worst of Grobe’s eight-year tenure.
“It’s rough just being in the red zone as many times as we have been and not coming out with six points,” running back Josh Adams said Tuesday. “It’s tough on not only me, but the quarterback and the offensive line ó they’re doing all the blocking. It’s kind of hard to believe. It’s shocking.”
So far, this season has been one of offensive inconsistency for Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1) heading into this weekend’s trip to Miami. The Demon Deacons rank 11th in the 12-team conference by averaging 94.7 yards rushing, while their 2.5 yards per carry is worst. Adams ó last year’s league rookie of the year ó is averaging just 41 yards on the ground and 3.1 yards per carry, down from his 79.4 yards and 4.4 per-carry averages from last season.
The Demon Deacons can make up for some of that lost production with Riley Skinner, the ACC’s passing leader. But when Skinner struggles ó as he did in a five-turnover loss to Navy or last week’s 26-0 loss at Maryland ó their offense has had little to fall back on.
Averaging 18.7 points per game, the Demon Deacons are on pace to produce their lowest scoring and rushing averages of the Grobe era. They’ve never averaged fewer than 21 points or 140 yards rushing per game since Grobe arrived before the 2001 season.
“It’s definitely not complacency: we’ve been in big games and won big games before,” said Russell Nenon, who is moving from left guard to center with starter Trey Bailey out due to an ankle injury. “It sucks going up on a roller coaster because you go real high and it feels great to beat Florida State at Florida State and beat Clemson, then to go out and play poorly … We’re just hitting a road bump. It’s a big road bump.”
The problems have been especially pronounced in league games. Against the Terrapins, Wake Forest’s receivers dropped a half-dozen passes while the Demon Deacons finished with 219 total yards in their first shutout since a 42-0 loss to Air Force to start the 1998 season.
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