Winston-Salem, NC - It could be said the Wake Forest (1-2, 0-1 ACC) offense was lost in the sundresses and boots in the stands instead of focused on the action before it until its final possession, which culminated with an incomplete pass for what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion in a 21-19 loss to its Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Monroe (2-1).
"It has a lot to do not with what we're doing but how we're doing it," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "We're a very lethargic offensive football team right now. We have no sense of urgency. This is my fault. This is nobody's fault but the head coach, when your offense plays like they're asleep at the wheel."
"The deal is, a dropped ball is no big deal, and a bad throw is no big deal. That's my fault. I've allowed that to happen. The way we're playing right now offensively and the lack of intensity, it doesn't matter we're doing. We're just a very lethargic, sloppy offensive football team. That's me, that's the head coach. I control my assistants. The assistants coach the kids. I sit there every day in practice and watch it. We've got to turn the volume up, and that's my responsibility."
The Demon Deacons struggled to get into sync offensively most of the game, struggling to sustain drives until the end when they went 97 yards in 11 plays under two minutes for a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Price to Orville Reynolds with 0:04 left in regulation.
Price, who was under constant duress, was sacked four times and hurried once. He still managed to complete 28-47 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions.
Defensively, Wake executed well for the most part by forcing the Warhawks into two turnovers and to 21 points, which was a goal going into the game. However, the Deacs struggled to defend ULM's short, intermediate aerial attack led by senior quarterback Kolton Browning, who completed 43-68 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns to two interceptions.
"I thought overall, our defense really hung in there," Grobe said. "They didn't get much help from the offense today. They were off the field a lot. We kept putting those guys back out there. So they showed a lot of courage and determination."
"It's certainly not a science once things start breaking down and he [Browning] out of the pocket. That hurt us some defensively today. I felt at times he made some good decisions, whether to throw it away or try to get it in there. I thought several times, we pressured their quarterback and he made something out of nothing a couple of times. That's what happens when the quarterback gets out of the pocket and you don't get him contained."
Untimely mental mistakes, not that there is ever a good time for them, but the Deacs blundered cataclysmically at critical times.
Senior outside linebacker Justin Jackson made one of the more significant ones.
He committed a running into the kicker penalty that gave the ball back to ULM, which drove to 60 yards in nine plays for a touchdown with 0:41 left in the second quarter.