Wake Forest Cruises to Victory Over Army
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – After giving up 56 points to Army a year ago, the Wake Forest defense answered the bell this time around. In a 45-10 drubbing of the Black Knights, Brad Lambert’s unit took care of business, forcing four turnovers and allowing the offense to cruise control the team to victory.
“When you beat Army and defend the offense, that’s really a win,” Wake Forest Head Coach Dave Clawson stated after the game. “Brad and his defensive staff created a great plan. But you have to give credit to the players for accepting the plan and executing the plan. It’s a long day when you play Army. If you don’t embrace it, it will be hard. And I thought we did.”
Along with the turnovers, there were several areas where the defense showed noticeable improvement from the 2021 contest against the Black Knights.
” We were more numerous, we blitzed more,” Clawson said. “We were quicker off the blocks up front. Our defensive line was more aggressive and had more hits in the backfield. We tackled better.”
Headlining the defense’s performance was linebacker Dylan Hazen, a redshirt freshman making his first career start. Hazen did a little bit of everything, chipping in 12 tackles, half a sack and a key interception that kept Army off the scoreboard heading into halftime.
“He played a great game,” said LB Chase Jones, junior captain. That was a remarkable start. He didn’t blink. He didn’t flinch. He stood tall and made some big plays. I’m really proud of him.”
In years past, Wake Forest has used the bye week before their matchup with Army to prepare for their unique offense. They were not given the same opportunity this season. The Deacs were unable to afford the extra week of preparation and had to rely on their scout group to help them install the game plan.
“[ The win started with the Scout team,” said quarterback Sam Hartman. “They were giving the defense a great view as they flew around. Later on, they would say “we ran that,” which is the reverse play. It’s quite cool. It starts from the bottom up, and to have guys invested like that, those guys are bought in.”
Hartman had a solid, risk averse game, completing 13 of 19 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. It was on the ground where Wake Forest found the most success, rushing for 221 yards and four touchdowns.
” We really played complementary football,” Clawson stated. “We executed on offense. It was efficient. We accepted the run and they defended us. Then, they changed it up and brought a little more edge pressure, which opened up the passing game.”
Along with the normal duo of Justice Ellison and Christian Turner, who combined for three scores, sophomore Quinton Cooley added a touchdown. True freshman Demond Claiborne and Will Towns, a redshirt freshman, also got touches.
” These are my boys,” Ellison stated about the running back room. It’s a bond. It’s called The Grounds Crew. We’re gritty, we’re dogs. It’s amazing to see Will Towns or Demond [Claiborne] getting in there. Quinton Cooley is my favorite player. Sometimes, we just get the pleasure of getting the ball.”
With the win, the team feels good. Wake Forest will have a week off before the next home match against Boston College. The rest of the season is a sprint to completion.
” It’s a feeling of revival,” Hazen stated. “Each week will be difficult. Each week is a new season. You only need to take one game at a given time. Accept the challenge. Then you put your [best] foot forward.”
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