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November 26, 2011

Not even close

Winston-Salem, N.C. - Jimmy Newman drilled the extra point after Tanner Price connected with Terence Davis on a 10-yard scoring strike at the 12:44 mark of the second quarter to put Wake Forest up 7-6 before Vanderbilt scored the last 35 points to embarrass the Demon Deacons 41-7.

It was not 62-14, but ex-Maryland offensive coordinator, now Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin continues to have Wake Forest's (6-6, 5-3 ACC) number, as the Commodores (6-6, 2-6 SEC) became bowl-eligible with its dismantling of the Deacs.

"I thought Vanderbilt played like they wanted to be in a bowl game," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "They played with some energy and played like they were on a mission. That was a hungry team we played tonight. To their credit, they out-played us. Their kids played really, really good."

As usual Wake did not hurt itself with tons of turnovers, as Brandon Pendergrass' fumble was the Demon Deacons only blunder in that category. It was something personal and sacred Wake Forest did not have, and that is pride.

The Deacs were content in last week's accomplishment of becoming bowl-eligible, and it showed as the Commodores were clearly the aggressors.

"We really don't have any excuses," Wake Forest wide receiver Chris Givens said. "They just came out and beat the mess out of us. We just didn't not show up, and they just came out and pounded us for four quarters."

It was not that Vanderbilt has talent dramatically superior to Wake Forest's, but the issue was the Demon Deacons displaying their immaturity by not knowing how to handle success and that was shown in their inability to stay focused and make simple plays.

Whether it was weak arm tackling against Vandy's Zac Stacy, who bludgeoned Wake 28 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns, or the lack of awareness when Larry Smith caught a backward lateral before throwing it to a wide-open Jordan Matthews for a 45-yard touchdown to extend the Commodores lead to 34-7 late in the third quarter the Deacs were lifeless and defenseless on defense.

"They came at you," Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock said. "They were very physical. The running back [Stacy] ran hard. [Jordan] Rodgers he ran hard. They were a very physical offense. We didn't play like Wake Forest usually plays."

Wake was just as stagnant offensively.
Price completed less than 50-percent of his passes for the first time this season, cashing in on only 16 of his 34 attempts for 157 yards and the touchdown pass to Davis.

After reeling in eight balls for 191 yards and a touchdown in Wake's victory over Maryland Chris Givens was held to four catches for 69 yards against the Dores. Michael Campanaro did have six receptions, but for only 45 yards.

"We just run our defense, and we just focus on the things that we focus on," Franklin said. "We knew that he [Price] was a good player. We knew that the two wideouts [Givens and Campanaro] for them were good players. We needed to stop them and try to control them as much as we possibly could."

The Demon Deacons will have nearly a month to shake off this sluggishness, and recoup before their bowl game.

Grobe said he does not know for how long, but is going to give the players some time to rest and recover.

That should be time for the Deacs to search their hearts and ask one another how they want to finish this season.

"I thought that we were a football team tonight that didn't have a spark, and that's my fault, that's the coaches' fault," Grobe said. "It starts with the players. It's the players' fault number one, because they've got to be ready to go. You got to go out and play hard every week."

No excuses, this is a matter of taking responsibility, and everyone on the team executing his role to the best of his ability.

If Wake Forest is to rid itself of its reputation of mediocrity the players must lose their attitude of complacency and being content with 6-6 seasons and bowl-eligibility, or the Demon Deacons will suffer another Vanderbilt-like beating in their bowl game.


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