Late Hits: Wake Forest continues no-TD success in ACC

Wake Forest wide receiver P.J. Howard IV (82) and quarterback John Wolford (10) celebrate with teammates after time ran out on Boston College in the fourth quarter to preserver the Deacons 3-0 win.
Wake Forest wide receiver P.J. Howard IV (82) and quarterback John Wolford (10) celebrate with teammates after time ran out on Boston College in the fourth quarter to preserver the Deacons 3-0 win. AP

Wake Forest won another ACC football game on Saturday without scoring a touchdown.

In what has to qualify as the most bizarre stat anywhere, maybe in any sport: the Demon Deacons are now 2-1 in ACC play under coach Dave Clawson when they don’t score a touchdown and 0-8 when they do.

Go ahead and try to wrap your brain around that one. You’ll make more sense of the interstate highway system in Hawaii before you unravel that mind-bender.

Wake beat Boston College 3-0 on Saturday and Virginia Tech, 6-3 in overtime, last November. That means Clawson’s won two ACC games, in a five-game span, without his team reaching the end zone.

How rare is that? Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden won more ACC games (118) than anyone but none without scoring a touchdown. Duke beat Boston College last week (9-7) without reaching the end zone. Before that, the last time any of the three ACC Triangle teams had won a conference game without scoring a touchdown was 1990 when N.C. State beat North Carolina 12-9 in a field goal fest in Chapel Hill.

Wake’s road win will be described, by anyone who didn’t see the game, as a “defensive battle.” There was a more apt description for the contest, which will assuredly not be included on the Chamber of Commerce tour of the ACC next summer when the league promotes its alleged football excellence.

“Both teams did everything they could to give the other team the game,” Clawson said after the win, according to the AP.

No kidding. Boston College, which entered the game without its top quarterback or top running back, turned the ball over four times, including a fumble on its own 5-yard line early in the third quarter.

Wake Forest promptly went backwards for four yards, completed a pass for a 2-yard gain and then quarterback John Wolford threw an incomplete pass on third down. The game’s only scoring drive: three plays, minus-2 yards.

What’s that rumbling noise you hear in the background? The sound of cable executives trampling over each other to start up the “ACC Network.”

Mike Weaver did make the 25-yard field goal to give the Demon Deacons the only points they would need. That’s because Boston College kicker Colton Lichtenberg missed from 26 and 31 yards.

Look, not every game needs to be Texas Tech-TCU with 107 points and a complete lack of defensive play. There is such a thing as a good, low-scoring game between two strong defenses. Both teams made good plays on defense on Saturday in Chestnut Hill but this wasn’t an Alabama-LSU redux. There were more combined penalties (18) than pass completions (15).

The last 2 minutes of the game were so bad, they couldn’t have gotten permission to use “Yakety Sax” as background music because it would have been an insult to call it a comedy of errors.

Boston College had two chances to win, or force overtime, in the last 75 seconds of the game. On third and 1 from the Wake Forest 8-yard line, quarterback Troy Flutie fumbled.

The Deacs took over at their own 4-yard line with 1:09 left. In most games, that’s three snaps and ball game. At worst, Wake should have had to snap the ball on fourth down and run out of the end zone for a safety.

Instead, Wake running back Matt Colburn fumbled the ball back to Boston College on third down. The Eagles had 56 seconds to go 11 yards, or attempt another field goal.

BC coach Steve Addazio elected to go for the win, but in the process, ran out of time, as running back Tyler Rouse was stopped on first-and-goal from 1.

It was a truly bizarre ending, giving us the even more bizarre stat about Clawson’s record when his team doesn’t reach the end zone. The ACC won’t recognize it as such but that was the conference’s game of the year. There will be better games, for sure, but this will be the one remembered for years to come.

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

Who’s trending

A weekly review of who’s trending:

Dabo Swinney (UP): Another postgame, another classic rant from the Clemson coach, this time on the topic of “Clemsoning,” after his team’s 43-24 win over Georgia Tech.

“We ain’t lost to anybody unranked since 2011 but I have to come to a press conference in 2015 and get asked that,” Swinney said. “And that’s all media bullcrap.”

“I can’t believe I’ve got to come in here with a 5-0 football team, that just had a great win, and have to talk about ‘Clemsoning.’ It shouldn’t even be in the conversation.”

Texas (UP): A week after a 43-point loss to TCU, the Longhorns channel their anger on Oklahoma and pick up a 24-17 win in the Red River Rivalry.

Michigan (UP): Since a 24-17 loss at Utah to kick off the Jim Harbaugh era, the Wolverines have given up 14 points in five games and none in the last three games. Northwestern, who conquered Duke earlier in the season, was the latest victim on Saturday in a 38-0 wipeout in Ann Arbor.

Suddenly, the Wolverines have gone from spoilers to contenders in the Big Ten.

Maryland (DOWN): Coach Randy Edsall was fired Sunday after a 2-4 start and never delivering on athletic director Kevin Anderson’s promise to take the Terps from “good to great.” Ralph Friedgen won nine games in his last season in 2010. The Terps never won more than seven games in Edsall’s four-plus seasons.

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