The sting of Saturday's disappointing 19-14 loss at Maryland (3-2, 1-0 ACC) lingers in the hearts and minds of the Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3 ACC) faithful.
However, one must approach the letdown in College Park with the right perspective. The Demon Deacons were without six suspended players, including four starters and their all-everything go-to-guy, Michael Campanaro, which made for a lean arsenal.
Deacons Illustrated rewinds back to Saturday for a look at how the Deacs faired in "The five keys."
1) Step up at wide receiver
Terence Davis caught seven passes for 130 yards and a (73-yard) touchdown against the Terrapins for his second consecutive 100-yard receiving performance.
However, Wake did not have another receiver catch more than two passes, and the Demon Deacons dropped multiple potential receptions.
2) Stay balanced offensively
Wake Forest was anemic in both the passing and rushing categories offensively versus Maryland. Tanner Price completed 13-38 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions, while Josh Harris led a stagnant ground game (team total of 71 net yards rushing) with 18 carries for 73 yards.
As already stated the Deacs receiving corps is not operating at full-throttle, which makes Price's job even more challenging. At the same time Harris was forced to shoulder the brunt of the rushing load, while Wake was without its second leading rusher, DeAndre Martin, who was on suspension. Also, starting right guard Frank Souza, missed the narrow lost due to suspension, which made pass-protection and opening holes increasingly difficult for what was already a decimated offensive line.
3) Pressure Hills
The Demon Deacons got after Maryland true freshman quarterback Perry Hills, sacking him three times and pressuring him once. Wake's defense held Hills 14-25 passing for 191 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
What makes those stats so impressive is that the Deacs were without their starting free safety, Daniel Mack, leading tackler Mike Olson and top cornerback Merrill Noel, who were all on suspension.
4) Minimize mistakes
Wake Forest fumbled three teams, losing two of them to the Terps, and was penalized six times for 54 yards.
Also, Josh Harris was stopped for no gain at the Maryland one-yard-line on fourth and goal with 4:46 remaining in the second quarter, and Jimmy Newman missed two field goals (42 yards, 44 yards).
5) Containing Diggs
Maryland's dynamic true freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs was held in check until he turned a routine pass play into 63-yard gain down to the Wake Forest three-yard-line to set up Justus Pickett's game-winning touchdown.