The over/under on Wake Forest’s football game against Army last October was 52.5 points.

It’s a number that turned out to be so low, the Deacons beat it by themselves. So did the Cadets. With plenty of room to spare. The final score was so ridiculously high, it could easily have been mistaken for a basketball result by anyone clicking onto a random website to find out who won.

Wake Forest 70, Army 56.

The 70 points were the most the Deacons have scored in a game since 1940 and represented their 3rd-highest total ever.

Even more impressive is the efficiency with which coach Dave Clawson’s team accomplished the feat. They did it by churning out 638 yards on just 53 snaps in a little more than 17 minutes of possession time.

Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson couldn’t have done it much better.

And yet, for all the eye-popping statistics to come out of that game, the most amazing aspect of the performance is that it wasn’t a complete outlier.

Wake might be perceived by some as the proverbial little engine that could chugging bravely up a hill because of its status as the nation’s smallest FBS school. But when it comes to offensive fire-and-brimstone, these Deacons know how to bring it with the best of them.

They’re the only team in the ACC to average 30 or more points in each of the past 5 seasons, a stretch in which they’ve topped the 50-point mark no fewer than 12 times.

Their 41.0 points per game last year were more than everyone in the country other than Ohio State (45.7), Western Kentucky (44.2) and conference rival Pittsburgh (41.4), and their 574 total points were the 4th-most in a season in the ACC.

They’re off to flying start again with the 44 points in their opening win against VMI on Thursday, despite backup Mitch Griffis having to pinch-hit for sidelined fourth-year starter Sam Hartman.

Now that Hartman has been cleared to return after suffering from a condition that caused a blood clot in his throwing shoulder, the sky’s the limit on how many points they might put up — especially with the return of a receiving corps led by All-ACC selection AT Perry, 2 of the top 3 rushers from 2021 and an offensive line with a combined 102 career starts.

“We weren’t perfect and we certainly left points on the field,” junior center Michael Jurgens said after Saturday’s romp. “There’s that constant pursuit of perfection.”

Pursuing perfection is hardly a unique concept. Every team does it. What sets Wake’s offense apart from most is its abundance of underrated talent and a coaching staff savvy enough to find a scheme that perfectly suits it.

It’s basically a standard RPO attack with one major twist that makes it a nightmare to defend.

The secret sauce is a mesh point between the quarterback and running back that’s held for such a long period of time that ESPN could break for a commercial and still get back to the action before the defense figures out whether the play is a run or a pass.

Offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero, a 2021 Broyles Award finalist who has been with Clawson for more than a decade since their days at Bowling Green, came up with the strategy shortly after arriving in Winston-Salem as a way of helping then-quarterback John Wolford survive after getting sacked 113 times from 2014-16.

The slow meshes force pass rushers to hesitate before heading into the backfield, giving the quarterback an extra split second to set up, find his receiver downfield and deliver the ball.

Wolford took advantage of the change to throw for 3,192 yards and 29 touchdowns – one fewer than his first three years combined – during a senior season that helped him catch on as a backup with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

While Wolford and successor Jamie Newman both thrived while executing the offense, Hartman has turned running it into an art form.

Call him a system quarterback if you like, and those calls will get louder after the success Griffis had filling in against VMI, but his numbers don’t lie. He accounted for 50 touchdowns last season (39 passing and 11 rushing), a number surpassed by only 1 quarterback in ACC history – Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, who had 51 on his way to the Heisman Trophy in 2016.

For all his physical qualities, his coach points out that his most valuable asset is the ability to make those around him better.

“Every physical measurement of a quarterback, he has improved every year. The big difference for him on our football team is just his leadership qualities,” Clawson said. “I always think that leadership is the element that can bond and elevate a football team.

“One of the reasons that we’ve had success at Wake Forest going to 6 straight bowl games and the number of wins we’ve had over the last 5, 6 years is we have been very blessed and fortunate to have not good leaders, but great leaders.”

Even though the playing field between small private schools and the big boys of the FBS will never be completely level because of disparities in academic requirements, recruiting budgets, facilities, exposure and NIL opportunities, the Deacons’ success is hardly unprecedented.

Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and ACC rival Duke have all had similar David and Goliath moments over the years. None of them, however, were able to sustain their winning ways.

Wake Forest has, thanks in large measure to an innovative offensive tweak that has helped put basketball numbers onto the scoreboard, fans into the seats at Truist Field and changed the perspective of the program for future recruits.

“We’ve changed the culture,” Hartman said. “The culture used to be, ‘It’s a great school, you must be smart because you go there.’ Now it’s because you are a good football player who is also pretty smart.”