Wake Forest's John Wolford (10) throws a pass under pressure from Syracuse's Eric Crume (52) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson, left, argues a call with officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Syracuse won 30-7. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — Wake Forest's woeful offense can take some solace in this: At least the Demon Deacons still have their quarterback.
John Wolford will be back in the starting lineup this week against Boston College after coach Dave Clawson said the freshman showed no signs of a concussion following last week's loss to Syracuse.
Wolford suffered a head injury when he was hit while attempting to pass in the second quarter, and spent the second half on the bench in street clothes.
Clawson said Wolford showed no indications of a concussion on the sideline, in the locker room or the following day.
"Because the hit was in the head ... we were taking zero chances," Clawson said Tuesday, adding that when Wolford "felt fine" on Sunday, "we knew he was good to go this week."
To make matters worse, Syracuse intercepted Wolford's final, floating pass and returned it for the touchdown that sent the Demon Deacons spiraling to a 30-7 loss — their third straight defeat.
Wolford completes 60 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,135 yards with seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions — tied for the second most in the Bowl Subdivision.
After he exited the Syracuse game, Wake Forest (2-5, 0-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) gained 68 total yards.
"We basically didn't do a thing the rest of the day on offense," Clawson said.
That's been a common refrain during a pretty rough year for these Demon Deacons in their first year with Clawson.
Yet BC coach Steve Addazio insists Wake Forest is making progress.
"Dave's doing a makeover," Addazio said. "He'll get them to do what he wants on offense. They'll be really good. Every place he's been, he's turned them into a winner and he'll turn Wake Forest into a winner because that's what he does."
But it's going to take time.
The quarterback is a true freshman, and so is the starting center. The Demon Deacons' depth chart shows seven freshmen or sophomores on the offensive line — and that creates a drastic contrast for this week's opponent. Boston College's starting offensive line consists entirely of graduate students.
With all that youth, Wake Forest ranks last in the ACC in three major offensive stat categories: scoring, rushing and total offense.
The Demon Deacons have the worst rushing offense in the FBS — averaging fewer than 37 yards on the ground — and no team has fewer rushing touchdowns (one) than they do.
And that's put even more pressure on a defense that has played decent enough to produce middle-of-the-pack numbers despite being placed in some huge holes.
"We feel like we owe it to" the defense, receiver E.J. Scott said. "They've been putting us in good situations throughout the year — turnovers and getting stops. We just want to put it all together."
Part of the problem has been a lack of what Clawson calls "explosive plays."
The offense has produced just three plays of at least 35 yards all season — and none since the win over Army on Sept. 20.
"I celebrate right now when we have an 8-yard play," Clawson said. "We're a little bit challenged on the perimeter right now. ... You look at how teams defend you, and people aren't real worried about us running by them. When you see the amount of press and single-man coverage we see, and an inability to exploit it ... there's more pressure on our (offensive) line because we haven't made those plays."
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