Not many people believe in the phrase, “even though you lost, you came out a winner.” I can’t say I would either. For many, a loss is a loss and a win is a win, period. I tend to agree. You can talk about moral victories and hanging your head up high, but nobody wants to hear that. They want what anyone in competitive sports strives for: to win. In this case however, I am going against what I trust. There is enough evidence towards a moral victory, something to hang your hat on; something to build on perhaps for the Wake Forest Demon Deacon Football Program with their performance against the Irish.
On a frigid Saturday night when a team as endorsed as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish marches into a town like Winston-Salem, which most couldn’t point out on a map, and played in the smallest stadium they have ever entered, the stakes were as high as ever for Wake Forest. To put it in perspective, the Fighting Irish’s next smallest stadium they’ve competed in seated 20,000 more fans than Wake Forest’s Groves Stadium. And whether the stipulation of Wake moving the contest to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to garner more revenue from the title match were true or untrue, by game time, it was just that, stipulation. Because on a cold night in Winston-Salem, in a tightly-packed Groves stadium, Wake fans, some clothed five-layers deep, looked on to BB&T Field to watch their team’s moral victory.
Here is a list of five reasons Wake Forest can hang their hat on a loss:
1) The look on ND coach Brian Kelly’s face for about 38 minutes was priceless
The closer the game was and the longer it was close, the redder Brian’s Kelly’s face was and the longer it stayed that way. It also mirrored how close Brian Kelly was to being on the hot-seat in Southbend, Indiana. After a stellar first half by the Deacs, Kelly’s priceless, panic-stricken expression after a second Tommy Rees interception had to show indicate some type of win.
2) Being inside Notre Dame’s ten yard-line twice in the final quarter means Wake had chances.
Okay, so maybe the Deacs didn’t put up points when they needed them down seven, but they had their chances. If they converted at least a touchdown and a field-goal in the red-zone, they would have a definite bowl bid. Giving yourself a chance to win under the pressure Wake Forest was under is all a fan can ask for, especially against the Golden Domers.
3) Nationally televised, under the lights, Wake competed hard
Wake Forest gave a valiant performance with millions of eyes watching on a national stage. Not many people have heard of the small market school, as I stated in my previous article. So with a chance to show America they at least exist, the Demon Deacons gave a solid effort and if anything, revealed they are not to be taken lightly and should be respected in the FBS.
4) Tanner Price and Chris Givens keep momentum, the return of Josh Harris, reliability of Michael Campanero
Wake Forest’s two most reliable offensive performers, Tanner Price and Chris Givens had expected impressive performances and more importantly no turnovers between the two. Also, the return of one of Wake’s best tail backs Josh Harris returning was promising for the future of the program. Similarly, with Michael Campanero’s surprising 74-yard outbreak, a team-high for the game, it gives Price, who has been surgical against pass defenses through the air, another weapon on offense.
5) Like Jim Grobe said: “There are going to be some things that we look that we don't feel real good about, but I thought the effort was really good today.”
Wake Forest Football came into the season not expected to accomplish much and now has become an underrated program capable of scaring elite teams. Look for the effort in last night’s match up to give the Clemson team they still only trail by one game in the ACC Atlantic similar fits on offense and defense. If the effort is there and with the turnovers tamed, don’t count out the Deacs pouncing on the Tigers early at BB&T Field Saturday.
Check out this video from Fighting Irish Coach Brian Kelly giving Wake Forest the respect and attention it deserves:
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