Fri, 03 Dec 2021

No. 16 Wake Forest puts perfect record on the line against Army

Field Level Media
20 Oct 2021, 06:05 GMT+10

No. 16 Wake Forest has learned how to handle trouble spots in its past two games.

Now it must demonstrate that it can deal with Army, which provides problems for opponents in unconventional ways.

The teams meet for a nonleague game Saturday afternoon at West Point, N.Y.

"When you're playingwell, you kind of want to keep it going, too," said Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, whose team is coming off an open week. "Hopefully we can recapture that momentum as we get ready for a very good Army football team."

Wake Forest (6-0) is bowl eligible for a program-record sixth consecutive season. The Demon Deacons hadn't trailed in any of their first four games, then fell behind to Louisville and faced an 11-point hole before winning in overtime against Syracuse.

"Our players have given us every ounce of energy that they could possibly muster the last two or three weeks," Clawson said.

It figures to take more of that against Army (4-2), which owns a 13-game home winning streak at Michie Stadium.

The Black Knights lost consecutive road games, including Saturday's 20-14 decision to Wisconsin, after three straight victories at home. Wake Forest are likely to be Army's lone opponent holding a national ranking.

"They believe that when we play a football game they are going to win," Army coach Jeff Monken said of his players. "I believe that, too. That is a great mentality to have as a team."

Wake Forest has been gearing up to defend Army's triple-option offense.

"Army is a team that the extra time helps because of the difficulty of defending that offense," Clawson said. "It's a really hard offense to prepare for in two weeks, let alone a week. ... All the different formations. The different personnel groups."

Perhaps complicating the planning comes because Army has tried a rotating quarterback system with Tyhier Tyler and Jabari Laws. Tyler didn't attempt a pass in the Wisconsin game, but he racked up 90 rushing yards on 17 carries.

"They are both capable of making plays," Monken said.

Most of that is bound to come on the ground. That's what the Demon Deacons are anticipating as they stress discipline on defense.

"We've got to teach it better. We've got to execute it better," Clawson said. "It's a tough offense to prepare for. You have to get off the blocks. You have to make tackles."

There's no doubt that the Black Knights gained confidence from the close encounter at Wisconsin.

"I'm happy that our team kept fighting. That shows that we can persevere and continue to love one another, trust one another, push each other to keep fighting to the end," safety Marquel Broughton said. "I respect our team for that."

Tyler said the Black Knights would "make those corrections to get ready for another big one this week."

The Demon Deacons will play their second game in a row in the state of New York after winning Oct. 9 at Syracuse 40-37 in overtime.

Like Army, Wake Forest's last loss also came against Wisconsin. In the Demon Deacons' case, it was in last December's Duke's Mayo Bowl.

Wake Forest is 11-5 all-time against Army, though the Black Knights won 21-13 in 2016 in the most recent meeting to break a nine-game stretch of Wake Forest victories in the series. The Demon Deacons have won in their last three visits to West Point (2015, 2013, 1999).

--Field Level Media

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