John Wolford, Wake Forest’s ball-control offense off to great start in 2017

In year three of Dave Clawson at Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons won a bowl game for the first time since 2008. In year four of Dave Clawson at Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons are picking up where they left off. Senior quarterback John Wolford — who has been in Winston-Salem for all of the highs and lows of the last four seasons — is a major reason why 2017 looks like it could be Clawson’s best yet in black and old gold.


Have yourself a day

In that Wake Forest’s win over Boston College, Wolford became just the seventh ACC player since 2000 to throw for 150 or more yards and a touchdown, complete at least 67 percent of his passes, and run for at least 80 yards and a touchdown, too.

Two of the other players to accomplish this — you may have heard of them: Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson.


Slow and steady

John Wolford ranks 12th in the ACC in attempts (34) and 11th in completions (24). Both North Carolina quarterbacks — Brandon Harris and Chazz Surratt — have attempted and completed more passes than Wolford.

Part of this is because Wake destroyed Presbyterian in the season’s first game, and Wolford was able to turn the game over to Kendall Hinton — his kindred spirit at the QB position.

Regardless, though, Wake Forest doesn’t ask Wolford to do too much. However, when he does attack through the air, it’s tough to argue with the results. Wolford is one of 24 FBS players with a completion rate of at least 70 percent.

Per, 12 of Wolford’s 24 completions (50 percent) have gone for first downs or touchdowns. Four of those completions have gone for 15-plus yards, too.

According to Football Study Hall, Wake Forest ran 72 plays against Presbyterian and 71 against Boston College. That’s a total of 143 plays; 16 of which have been passes for 10 or more yards. Wolford accounts for 11 of those completions.


Moving forward

The next two games setup nicely for Wake Forest — home against Utah State, then a road date up in the mountains with Appalachian State. This gives the Demon Deacons two more opportunities to test work on the offense before things pick up, considerably.

Wake Forest and John Wolford will host Florida State on Sept. 30, then travel to Death Valley the very next week. That’s brutal. FSU and Clemson boast two of the nastiest defenses in the nation, and a loaded with future pros and soon-to-be high draft picks.

The conservative offense of the Demon Deacons will likely struggle against those defenses, but after that look forward Wolford and company to keep thing ahead of schedule, just the way Dave Clawson wants it.


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