Football, Sports

BC’s Last Five Matchups With Dave Clawson’s Wake Forest

Boston College football head coach Steve Addazio is in his seventh year with the program, and his Week 4 opponent—Wake Forest—has been led by Dave Clawson for six years. The duo are second and third, respectively, in terms of the longest-tenured coaches in the ACC. Plus, with both playing in the Atlantic Division, they’ve now seen each other five times, and the results have been quite divided.

Addazio and the Eagles hold a slight 3-2 edge in those games, but the contests have swung from defensive-dominated matchups to high-scoring affairs. Here’s a look at how Addazio and BC have fared against Clawson’s Demon Deacons.

2014: BC 23, Wake Forest 17

The first meeting between these two coaches came after the Eagles suffered a heartbreaking 17-13 loss to Clemson. BC went on the road in Week 6 and came out firing, building a 17-0 lead in the first half on the back of freshman running back Jonathan Hiliman, who scored a pair of touchdowns, vaulting a defender at the end of one of them. 

The Eagles led by as much as 23-3 in the fourth quarter, but then Wake Forest got a pair of touchdowns from wide receiver E.J. Scott and running back Isaiah Robinson to make it a six-point game. The Demon Deacons even had the ball with 2:31 to go from their own 20-yard line after a punt, but future NFL starter Justin Simmons picked off John Wolford to send the home crowd streaming to the exits.

“It’s hard to go on the road and get a win,” Addazio emphatically said in his postgame speech, which was put on the ACC Digital Network. “It’s not easy. It never is. You have to stick together and make one more play. Justin Simmons. One more play!”

2015: Wake Forest 3, BC 0

The next season featured what was arguably the most infamous loss of Addazio’s tenure. Here’s how Clawson described it after, per Brett McMurphy: “They tried to give us the game and we tried to give it back to them. They made one more mistake than us.”

The final mistake was the most egregious. After Wake Forest fumbled the ball trying to run out the clock in the shadow of its own end zone, the Eagles took over on the Demon Deacons’ 11-yard line with 56 seconds left and no timeouts. They promptly ran the ball three times, didn’t score, and after the third run—from Tyler Rouse—the clock ran down before quarterback Jeff Smith could spike it.

It was horrific clock management, made even worse by the fact that BC kicker Colton Lichtenberg had missed a 26-yard chip shot field goal earlier in the second half and that quarterback Troy Flutie had fumbled on a quarterback sneak at the Wake Forest eight-yard line. It was an ugly, ugly loss—described aptly by Michael Sullivan, The Heights’ sports editor at the time, as “inexcusable.”

2016: BC 17, Wake Forest 14

The regular season finale bumped the Eagles to .500, with the defense lifting BC past Wolford and Wake Forest. It wasn’t pretty at times, but much like the 2014 matchup, it came down to a late defensive stand. In a game where the Demon Deacons held a 287-167 advantage in total yards, BC quarterback Patrick Towles threw a go-ahead touchdown pass with eight minutes remaining to Tommy Sweeney.

There was still plenty of time on the clock, however. Wake Forest punted on its next possession, but when it got the ball back, it had excellent field position and set up a 40-yard field goal attempt for Mike Weaver. The redshirt junior, who went on to be named to the All-ACC First Team, missed the game-tying effort with 1:22 left on the clock. The Eagles promptly went three-and-out after a series of runs that gained just four yards, but Wolford was sacked by Harold Landry and then picked off by Lukas Denis to end the game.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was BC’s second straight victory after losing four of five. It also gave the Eagles bowl eligibility, and they went on to beat Maryland, 36-30, in the Quick Lane Bowl.

2017: Wake Forest 34, BC 10

In his first three years at Wake Forest, Wolford threw 35 interceptions to 30 touchdowns and cleared 2,000 yards just once. In his last year, though, Wolford went off. He threw for 3,129 yards and 29 touchdowns and ran for 683 yards and 10 more scores—and one of his finest games came against BC. The senior threw for 151 yards and a score and ran for 92 yards and a touchdown as well, powering the Demon Deacons to a comfortable 24-point win.

The Eagles and Anthony Brown, meanwhile, struggled mightily. In his debut ACC game, Brown looked overmatched, completing just 11-of-29 passes for 119 yards (4.1 yards per attempt) while throwing three interceptions. Two of the passes went through his receivers’ hands—including one that was returned for a Wake Forest touchdown—but it was generally a forgetful performance. The Demon Deacons finished with 21 points off turnovers, turning the Eagles’ home opener into a dismal loss.

2018: BC 41, Wake Forest 34

In a complete reversal from the three combined points in 2015, BC and Wake Forest found themselves in an offensive shootout in a game that got moved up in the week because of Hurricane Florence. The Eagles got a career day from Anthony Brown, as he threw for 304 yards and five touchdowns, both personal bests. It was a dramatic shift from his outing against the Demon Deacons the year prior.

The offense as a whole was nothing short of explosive, as the Eagles scored all of their touchdowns from outside the red zone. There was a 45-yard touchdown run from AJ Dillon—who finished with 185 yards—on the first drive of the game, then Smith snagged a 27-yard touchdown and Kobay White grabbed a 35-yard score to tie the game at 21 apiece in the break. Then, Sweeney, Smith, and Ben Glines all hauled in touchdown passes in the second half—with Smith’s going a remarkable 71 yards.

While the defense gave up 34 points and nearly 300 rushing yards, it wasn’t all bad. The Eagles picked off Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman twice, and BC’s Wyatt Ray racked up a program-record four sacks in the win.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Senior Staff (File Photo)

September 25, 2019