Wake Forest

Military Bowl: Wake Forest 34, Temple 26, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017

Military Bowl: Wake Forest 34, Temple 26, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017


Wake Forest cranked up the offense in a fun 34-26 Military Bowl over Temple. What are the five things that matter and what’s next for each team in 2017?


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What’s with the bad ACC offenses showing up?

Boston College put up 36 points against Maryland in the Quick Lane, and now the scoring-challenged Demon Deacons rolled with a 31-point first half explosion to roll past Temple and its nasty defense.

John Wolford opened it up – throwing for 183 yards and two scores – and big things happened with TE Cam Serigne leading the way in the shocker.

The defense did its part against the run, and the offense – even with Wolford out hurt – did just enough in the second half to hold on.

At 7-6, it’s a winning season again at Wake Forest. Those aren’t common, closing out a special season made better considering the bowl win came against the …

American Athletic Conference champs

It’s been a rough bowl season for the AAC. Granted, the loss of the head coaches made a big difference at Houston and now Temple, but still this was the conference champ that was supposed to make a statement for the league to pull the league up out of the nosedive.

Nope.

The running game went nowhere, and Phillip Walker wasn’t right early, appearing to have a hand problem, but he and the passing game roared back in the second half with 396 yards and two scores for the game.

Adonis Jennings caught seven passes for 154 yards and two scores, and Ventell Bryant caught 11 passes for 151 yards, but it wasn’t enough to bail out the AAC champs.

No matter how you slice it, the best team in the American Athletic lost to a mediocre ACC team. That’s not okay.

Even with the second half, the Wake Forest D came through

The defense has been the key to the Wake Forest season, often picking up the slack for a bad offense. It might have struggled late when Temple was desperate and bombing away, but the D more than did its part against the Owl running game. Duke Ejiofor came up with two tackles for loss and Thomas Brown was a terror with seven tackles, a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss.

It wasn’t like Temple blew up in the second half – 16 points allowed weren’t that bad – with the Demon Deacons coming up with stops time and again in key situations. Temple converted just 1-of-12 third down plays.

What’s next for Temple in 2017?

You know exactly what Geoff Collins is going to bring – the D is going to rock again. He’s going to have to work with a redone line that loses three starters including Praise Martin-Oguike and Haason Reddick on the ends. All three starting linebackers are gone, and top corner Nate Hairston is done. Enjoy the rebuild, newbie.

The offense has bigger issues losing QB Phillip Walker, RB Jahad Thomas, star left tackle Dion Dawkins, and five starters in all. The receiving corps is the biggest and best area of experience, and the line should be a strength, but the backfield will be the focus of spring ball.

What’s next for Wake Forest in 2017?

It took a while for Dave Clawson to build the program to this point, and now the payoff should be even greater with just one starter – Tyler Hayworth at left guard – done on the offensive two-deep. John Wolford should be a seasoned-vet quarterback, the running back rotation should be solid, and the sophomore receivers that grew up should finally provide some more pop.

Will Duke Ejiofor still be around for another year at one defensive end spot? If he is, look out, even with the loss of Josh Banks at one tackle gig. The linebacking corps is an issue, losing Thomas Brown and Marquel Lee, and top corner Brad Watson is done, but the secondary should be okay, and the linebackers have a few promising options to play around with.