Back Hot Read: Wake Runs Past Duke

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Hot Read: Wake Runs Past Duke

By Matt Osborne
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Wake Forest improved to 2-0 on the season with a 24-14 road victory over the favored Duke Blue Devils in Wallace Wade Stadium.

Wake Forest improved to 2-0 on the season with a 24-14 road victory over the favored Duke Blue Devils in Wallace Wade Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from the Demon Deacons’ first conference win of the 2016 campaign.

1. Wake Forest certainly seems to have found its quarterback in sophomore Kendall Hinton. Though junior John Wolford started the contest, Hinton came in early and displayed the playmaking ability that allowed him to see the field as a true freshman last fall. Hinton had a number of big runs on the ground, finishing with 63 yards rushing on the afternoon. Perhaps more importantly, though, Hinton showed progress with his arm, throwing for 133 yards. He still has plenty of room for improvement, but the ceiling appears to be much higher for Hinton, and Saturday’s contest in Durham could have been the official transferring of the starting quarterback position at Wake Forest.

2. Duke redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones showed flashes of potential, but there are some flaws in his game at this early stage in his career. Jones seemed to lock in on receivers too frequently and was often late with his delivery on routes. His biggest weakness right now appears to be his feel in the pocket. While Wake Forest certainly did a great job of applying pressure with its pass rush, Jones frequently got antsy in the pocket and vacated it without real reason. At the end of the day, though, none of the mistakes are uncorrectable moving forward. At the very least, Jones has nice physical tools and showed that he can be accurate with his passes down the field.

3. The Demon Deacons defensive front seven is vastly underrated by fans within the ACC. Wake Forest absolutely dominated the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football against Duke, but the defense was particular stout, holding the Blue Devils to just 37 yards rushing on 30 attempts. In the passing game, Wake Forest’s pass rush was able to get to Daniel Jones five times, while causing him to scramble or throw the football away on numerous other occasions. Duke Ejiofor was nearly unblockable on Saturday afternoon, registering three sacks by himself. Ejiofor led the Deacons in sacks last season despite missing all of five contests. He is one of the better defensive players in the ACC that nobody seems to be talking about.

4. Duke has been incredibly good on special teams the last few years, but that appears to be a major area of concern for the Blue Devils in 2016. The return game should still be solid with the electric DeVon Edwards returning kicks and Ryan Smith taking back punts, but the actual kicking aspects of the special teams are struggling early on. Freshman kicker A.J. Reed missed a pair of field goals in the first half, which likely changed the way the Blue Devils handled their offensive strategy at the end of the game. Reed also came incredibly close to missing an extra point after freshman punter Austin Parker, who also serves as the holder, inexplicably let go of the football well before Reed has kicked it. Parker himself averaged less than 39 yards on seven punts.

5. Wake Forest may have found something special in the second game of the regular season in freshman running back Cade Carney. Carrying the ball 17 times on the afternoon, Carney rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns while delivering physical blow after physical blow to Duke defenders. Carney displayed exceptional strength for such a young runner, muscling his way through multiple arm-tackles all game. He also had arguably the biggest play of the day with his 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter on fourth down in a tie contest.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at