College Football Preview: Wake Forest at N.C. State
RALEIGH ó Marshall Williams has heard it all before ó several times over, if fact ó during the receiver’s three seasons at Wake Forest. It seemed like everybody was counting the Demon Deacons out again.
Cast aside in the crowded ACC after some midseason struggles, coach Jim Grobe’s team suddenly finds itself back in the hunt entering today’s game at rival North Carolina State.
“Knowing that everyone during this time is really neck and neck in the conference is a big motivation for us to set ourselves apart,” Williams said. “We come in every year, and we are not expected to be the champions. To prove that some of that is wrong is a great motivation.”
Now Wake Forest (6-3, 4-2) hopes its up-and-down season has come full circle.
Once ranked 16th after starting 3-0, the Demon Deacons plummeted out of the rankings following losses in three of four contests. Consecutive home victories against Duke and Virginia has them back in the Atlantic Division logjam, tied for the lead with Florida State ó which they beat in Week 4.
“We’re kind of just pecking away at it,” Grobe said.
Of course, nothing would send their season spiraling ó again ó like a loss to the last-place Wolfpack, whose 27-17 victory against the Blue Devils was significantly more resounding than Wake Forest’s overtime squeaker.
“N.C. State is a very dangerous team,” Williams said. “They see us as a challenge, and they want to be the kings of North Carolina. They are playing great ball right now with a great quarterback, and their defense is really tenacious.”
The Wolfpack (3-6, 1-4) became the last ACC team to win a conference game when they raced out to a 17-point lead and rolled up a near-season-high 377 total yards ó after entering with the league’s worst offense ó last week in Durham to snap a four-game losing streak.
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