Junior cornerback Dontae Johnson was not happy with his performance against Virginia last Saturday.
"I felt like I should have played a lot better last week," Johnson admitted. "I gave up a touchdown. That's not my M.O. I hate doing that. This week I have to prove to myself that it was a fluke, that it's not going to happen again."
That's why Johnson is "absolutely" ready to get back on the field, but his challenge Saturday against Wake Forest will be far greater than anything he faced against Virginia.
In the seven games that Wake junior receiver Michael Campanaro has played, he has caught 60 of his classmate Tanner Price's 151 completions in those contests. Against Army, Campanaro caught 12 of Price's 15 passes. Last Saturday, Campanaro matched an ACC record with 16 receptions, three of which were touchdowns.
Earlier this week, NCSU head coach Tom O'Brien noted that the Wolfpack will certainly emphasize where Campanaro is on defense, but he also noted they did the same thing with UNC star sophomore running back Giovani Bernard, who carried the Heels in the fourth quarter to a stunning win over the Wolfpack in Chapel Hill, N.C., Oct. 27.
Johnson will be among the players tasked with trying to slow down Campanaro Saturday.
"He's a good athlete," Johnson noted. "He played running back, and they moved him to receiver, and they want to get the ball in his hands cause he's a great athlete. I am definitely going to have my hands full this week."
Johnson also has respect for how Campanaro fearlessly is willing to go over the middle.
"That tells you the type of player he is," Johnson pointed out. "He is a tough player, goes over the middle a lot. A lot of his catches come from over the middle. It's going to be a good challenge for me just to be on him and making sure he doesn't get started.
"We have a few things we have to communicate when he goes over the middle, just different calls."
Thus far this year, Campanaro has caught at least nine passes in four contests, and only Florida State effectively slowed down a healthy Campanaro, who missed two games with a broken hand.
If Johnson can help NCSU perform at the Seminoles' level in slowing down the dangerous Demon Deacon, then it should help him forget about that Virginia game even quicker.