Wake Forest eager to resume action at Louisville
As Wake Forest and Louisville make their way to the finish line of a most bizarre football season, the Atlantic Coast Conference teams’ paths cross Saturday in Louisville.
The Demon Deacons (4-3, 3-3 ACC) have played once since Oct. 31 — a 59-53 loss Nov. 14 at North Carolina. There was a bye week on Nov. 7, and scheduled games with Duke on Nov. 21 and Miami on Dec. 5 were canceled after a COVID-19 outbreak affected as many as 35 scholarship players.
When Wake Forest held a full practice on Saturday, it was its first since Thanksgiving Day.
“All year, our guys have practiced well and they’ve always wanted to be there,” Deacons coach Dave Clawson said, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. “It’s been so wild, our guys have a bounce in their step and there wasn’t anything like pulling teeth to get them to practice. They wanted to be there and they want to play another game.”
The case can be made that Wake Forest easily could be 6-1. After a 37-13 loss to Clemson in the season opener, the Demon Deacons’ only defeats occurred on the road by a total of nine points to eight-win North Carolina State and seven-win North Carolina.
If the Deacons can shrug off the lengthy layoff, they have a reasonable chance to piece together a six-win regular season. Their finale is at home Dec. 19 against a reeling Florida State squad that may have trouble summoning up motivation to play its final game far from Tallahassee.
Wake Forest is averaging 39.3 points per game behind the efficient play of quarterback Sam Hartman, who in 195 passes has thrown zero interceptions. Hartman has hit on 62.6 percent of his attempts, averaging a whopping 13.8 yards per completion and tossing eight touchdown passes.
In the loss to North Carolina, Hartman connected on 29 of 45 passes for 429 yards and four touchdowns. The Demon Deacons opened up a 45-24 third-quarter lead before the Tar Heels rattled off 35 unanswered points.
Meanwhile, Louisville (3-7, 2-7) aims to finish its season with a win after falling two weeks ago at Boston College, 34-27. The Cardinals wasted an excellent performance from quarterback Malik Cunningham, who accounted for 429 total yards but tossed a tipped-ball interception to scuttle their final drive.
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield made waves during the bye week when he talked with South Carolina about its coaching vacancy that it eventually filled with Oklahoma assistant coach Shane Beamer, the son of former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.
That Satterfield explored a new job just two seasons into his current gig inflamed some Cardinals fans, who took him to task on social media.
“It was never my attention to hurt anybody with that,” he said. “It came down to location and then after that, we have a great job. We have a passionate fan base.”
Louisville could have a better record. Four of its losses have been by seven points or fewer, including a 12-7 setback at then-No. 4 Notre Dame on Oct. 17.
–Field Level Media