Defense dominates offense at Wake spring game

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest's defense probably wasn't going to score in its spring game. The offense certainly couldn't.

It took until the 14th offensive possession for someone to finally score, with Chad Hedlund's 39-yard field goal giving Black a 3-0 victory over Gold on Saturday.

The Black team consisted of the full offense while the defense comprised the Gold.

The coaching staff opted not to award any points to the defense for forcing turnovers or defensive stops. That meant Gold had to return a takeaway for a touchdown to avoid being shut out.

"It was a challenge. It was either hold them to nothing or lose," nose tackle Nikita Whitlock said. "Technically, we lost, but it was fine."

The defense didn't score, and for the longest time neither could the offense.

It managed just two first downs — one of them by penalty — before the drive that was capped by Hedlund's kick, which came nearly an hour into the 70-minute scrimmage.

Black had minus-5 yards rushing — a total skewed by five sacks — and lost a fumble. The leading rusher, DeAndre Martin, finished with 10 yards on four carries and nobody had a rush longer than eight yards.

The passing game was equally sputtering, finishing 16 of 36 for 131 yards with four interceptions. Tanner Price was 9 of 16 for 82 yards.

"I think it proves what we think — we're not a pure-throw football team," coach Jim Grobe said. "If we come out and just throw the football, it's going to be really, really hard."

The offense ran a total of two plays inside the red zone, and before the long field goal drive, Gold crossed midfield only once.

That had to be a bit disconcerting to the crowd of 4,200 because Wake Forest ranked 10th or worse in the Atlantic Coast Conference in all five major team stat categories last year. The team was last in the league with an 18½-point average and a pass-efficiency rating of 110.1.

A big reason for those struggles — both Saturday and last season — was a serious lack of healthy bodies.

They were down to seven offensive linemen for this scrimmage, and among the key players sitting out were receivers Michael Campanaro, Matt James and Sherman Ragland III.

"We were definitely limited," Price said. "There was not a whole lot we could do."

The Demon Deacons kept it simple in part because they didn't want to give Boston College — its first opponent from the Bowl Subdivision — any advantage during this televised spring scrimmage.

BC will have an unfamiliar feel in Week 2 because it has a new coach, Steve Addazio. Its spring game was cancelled during the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at (at)JoedyAP.

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