For the second consecutive season, Wake Forest opened their season with their starting quarterback sustaining an arm injury.
While Ben Mauk's 2006 injury proved to be a positive for the Deacons (and maybe now Cincinnati as well), the extent and effect of Riley Skinner's separated shoulder remain to be seen.
Brett Hodges came into the game and completed 17 of 23 passes for one touchdown against a solid Boston College defense. However, it needs to be asked where Wake Forest goes from here.
Skinner almost surely won't play when the ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Groves Stadium on Saturday, and Hodges will have a full week to prepare with the first team.
The bigger issue, though, is on the sidelines.
Mauk goes down, Skinner comes in, and Wake wins the ACC. Now Skinner goes down, and Hodges comes in and plays quite well. The system seems to be strong—but the problem with the Deacons is their playcalling.
Throughout the 2006 season, analysts fawned over Wake's misdirection offense. Many of the Deacons fans I know, however, have a strong dislike of Steed Lobotzke's decision-making.
Take yesterday, for example: while the Deacons threw more than they ran (a huge abnormality), they didn't throw the ball down the field. There were over a dozen lateral passes that took the place of rushing plays, and Wake did nothing to spread Boston College's defense.
Kenneth Moore had 15 catches, but averaged well less than 10 yards per reception. The BC safeties played close to the line of scrimmage, and the corners played tight man defense on the receivers. Steed never let Skinner or Hodges throw a deep ball until the game was decided.
Steed's biggest mistake came on one of the game's biggest plays. The Deacons, down seven and facing a fourth-and-one near midfield, ran the ball out of the shotgun. Why? When inches are needed, it's senseless to start a running play several yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Needless to say, Wake was stopped, and the game was essentially over.
If such problems aren't corrected, the defending ACC Champions will move to 0-2 on Saturday.
For the Deacons to have a chance, the Wake run defense needs to keep Nebraska at bay. The offense will have to take chances down the field and run the ball more than it did against Boston College.
If Wake is able to spread Nebraska's defense and stop the run, they'll be in the game in the fourth quarter. If not, this one could get ugly in a hurry.