Wake Forest Opens Season with 53-13 Win Over Presbyterian
Sept. 2, 2010
By Rob Daniels, WakeForestSports.com
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Blue Hose of Presbyterian College met the definition of a "deserving team" as enumerated in NCAA by-laws, and Wake Forest decided the visitors deserved a serious effort Thursday night. This wasn't a particularly good thing for Presbyterian.
The Demon Deacons set a school record for points at BB&T Field in a 53-13 win over the outmanned but creative Hose, a stand-in for originally scheduled Tulane. PC is a provisional member of the Football Bowl Subdivision, but it awards enough scholarships that Wake can count the result toward the NCAA minimum of six victories required for postseason eligibility. So says the Division I Manual, which uses the phrase "deserving team" to identify opponents worthy of inclusion in an FBS club's postseason resume.
And victory was not an issue on this night. The Deacs dressed 70 players and used 65 of them. Four of them were quarterbacks, and they threw all the first pass of their college careers.
"I wish we could have played more people earlier, but I credit PC for that," Wake coach Jim Grobe said.
Aside from offensive stagnation in the third quarter, there really wasn't much for Grobe to dislike - particularly when he was able to make Tanner Price the first true freshman to play quarterback for Wake since 2000. Price relieved starter and redshirt sophomore Ted Stachitas and was followed by redshirt freshman Brendan Cross and redshirt junior Skylar Jones.
"We've got to remain competitive there," Grobe said. "My thoughts we'll go into the (Sept. 11) Duke game expecting to play Ted and Tanner. And depending on how they play, we've got a couple of pinch-hitters in there." That's a crowded field, but Grobe suggested he'd rather have four guys than two, and there is no apparent angst from the participants.
"I enjoy it," Stachitas said. "We all get along. People think there's controversy there, but there's none of that. At all. It's all fine with me."
The Demon Deacons produced their highest point total in a home game since a 56-6 win over Richmond on Oct. 6, 1951. That one was played at "Old Wake Forest" five years before the university moved to Forsyth County.
The point total was the program's highest in any game since a 56-28 win at Vanderbilt on Nov. 24, 1990, and the margin of victory was the largest since a 47-3 win over UAB on Oct. 23, 1999.
Aided by Devon Brown's 85-yard TD run, the fourth-longest rush in school history, the Deacs amassed 415 yards on the ground. That's good for fifth-best total in the program's 100-plus seasons of football.
Stachitas went 7-for-13 through the air for 84 yards, and his 34-yard option run 90 seconds in gave Wake one of the 10 fastest scores in its history, a 34-yard option keeper. The Deacs would have been on the board earlier, but an apparent TD by Brown on the opening kickoff was eradicated by penalty.
The Blue Hose, in their fourth season of a transition process from Division II, clearly they lacked the size and speed to stay with Wake over an extended period.
The Deacs also scored on Alex Frye's 44-yard interception return, and they recorded the program's first defensive extra point. Wake had played 255 games over the rule's first 22 seasons without getting one until Kenny Okoro picked up a blocked kick and took it the distance to make it 37-13. Wake was the last ACC team to score in that manner.
"I wasn't supposed to rush, but I went anyway," Okoro said. "I looked up and said, `Whoa. There's the ball. Right there.' Kyle Wilber did the hard work. He blocked the thing. I just happen to be the one who's talking about it."
Stachitas and redshirt freshman tailback Josh Harris scored for the first time in their Wake careers, and Price, who prepped at powerhouse Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, got his feet wet as well.
"I thought he played really well," Grobe said. "I don't think his supporting cast played well."
Normally, coaches get steamed when they allow a 68-yard touchdown, but this one wasn't normal. The Hose scored with a play that may never have been attempted before. By anybody.
Quarterback Brandon Miley intentionally threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage and about five yards short of its target, wide receiver Derrick Overholt. Because the ball was behind the line, it was live and not an incomplete pass. As it bounced perfectly and cleanly to Overholt, the defense stopped, presuming a forward and incomplete attempt. Overholt feigned disgust, regrouped and threw to the wide-open Michael Ruff for a 68-yard touchdown and the Hose cut the deficit to 28-7.
"It served its purpose," PC coach Harold Nichols said.
"I thought that was beautiful," Grobe said.