Demon Deacons (3-1, 0-1 ACC) vs. Wolfpack (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Saturday, Oct. 2; Noon|
Carter-Finley Stadium - Raleigh, N.C. (53,800)
Jefferson-Pilot Sports (Regional). Steve Martin (play-by-play), Doc Walker (analysis) and Scott Pryzwansky (sidelines) call the action.
Wake Forest/ISP Network and XM Radio (Ch. 182). Stan Cotten (play-by-play) and Bill Urbanik (analysis) call the action.
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This Week's Game
Wake Forest brings a three-game winning streak to Raleigh to face long-time rival NC State in a noon ACC showdown at Carter-Finley Stadium (TV: Jefferson-Pilot). It is the 98th meeting between the teams and the third-oldest rivalry in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
The Deacons are in the midst of a brutal stretch on the schedule in which they will face four straight teams that played in bowl games last year.
Wake Forest has already cleared one hurdle with a 17-14 win over Boston College last Saturday at Groves Stadium. The victory was the third straight for the Deacons, their first three-game winning streak since 1992.
NC State is also riding high after a big 17-16 road victory at Virginia Tech.
A win for the Deacons on Saturday would give Wake Forest a 4-1 record and its best start since 1987 (5-0).
Saturday's game will be a rematch of last year's meeting at Groves Stadium when the Deacons prevailed 38-24 over 14th-ranked NC State.
NC State holds a 59-32-6 lead in the series including a nine-game winning streak in Raleigh since 1984.
Long Time Rivals Meet For 98th Time
The third-longest rivalry in the history of the ACC is renewed on Saturday when the Deacons and Wolfpack get together. The rivalry is the longest for NC State and the second-oldest for the Deacons. Wake Forest and North Carolina have played 100 times. The oldest rivalry in the ACC is North Carolina-Virginia who have played 108 times.
Of the previous 97 meetings, only 33 have been played on Wake Forest's home turf. From the first ever meeting in 1895 (a 4-4 tie) until 1956 when Wake Forest moved to Winston-Salem, the Deacons and Wolfpack only met in Old Wake Forest twice. The teams played in Raleigh 43 times during that era. In fact, from 1913-1945, 31 of the 33 games took place in Raleigh. The site has alternated every year since the advent of the ACC, except for 1979-80 when both games were played in Raleigh.
Getting back to present times, the Wolfpack have been successful at home against the Deacons, winning nine straight against Wake Forest since 1984. NC State is 38-21-5 all-time against Wake Forest at home.
Wake Forest has won three of the last four meetings at Groves Stadium, including last year's 38-24 victory when NC State was ranked 14th by the Associated Press.
More on the series history and last year's game on page seven.
Deacons Face Nasty Stretch Of The Schedule
As the calendar turns to October, the schedule for Wake Forest grows increasingly difficult. The Deacons are in the middle of a four-game string of opponents that participated in bowl games in 2003. Last week, Wake Forest got past Boston College (2003 winners of the California Bowl). This week, of course, the Deacons get NC State (2003 winners of the Tangerine Bowl) followed by Virginia Tech (lost Insight Bowl to Cal) and Florida State (lost Orange Bowl to Miami).
Wake Forest opened its season against Clemson (winners of the Peach Bowl) and will later play Miami (winners of the Orange Bowl) and Maryland (winners of the Gator Bowl).
Only Miami and North Carolina (eight) will play more bowl teams than Wake Forest (seven) this season.
Threes Are Wild
Just four games into the season, Wake Forest has already had three different players rush for 100 yards in a game and three different players post 100-yard receiving days in a game. That has happened only once in school history.
This year, Chris Barclay (at Clemson), Cory Randolph (at ECU) and Micah Andrews (vs. NC A&T) have all recorded 100-yard rushing efforts. Jason Anderson (at Clemson), Nate Morton (at ECU) and Chris Davis (vs. Boston College) have had 100-yard receiving games.
In 1989, Anthony Williams, Tony Rogers and Corey Donald all had 100-yard rushing games while Ricky Proehl, Steve Brown and Bobby Jones recorded 100-yard receiving days.
In fact, the Deacon offense has so many weapons that three different players have thrown for touchdowns including quarterbacks Randolph and Ben Mauk and a receiver, Morton.
From The Training Room
The injury report for the NC State game:
Out: LB James Adams (ACL, LCL surgery; season), LB Brandon Drumgoole (broken fibula; season), FB Damon McWhite (knee sprain; 4-6 weeks), OG Brodie Overstreet (eye; indefinitely); C Kreg Rotthoff (chronic knee irritation; week-to-week). Doubtful: None. Questionable: DT Jeromy Jones (sprained ankle), CB Marcus McGruder (hamstring). Probable: WR Jason Anderson (ankle sprain), MLB Pierre Easley (abdominal strain), TE Zac Selmon (groin strain).
A Win This Week Would...make Wake Forest's season record 4-1 and give the Deacons their best start since 1987 when they rattled off five straight wins to begin the year.
give the Deacons their first four-game winning streak since 1992.
give Wake Forest its first victory in Raleigh against NC State since 1984.
make Wake Forest 33-59-6 all-time against NC State.
mark the second victory in as many years against NC State.
give the Deacons their fourth victory in eight years against the Wolfpack.
make Grobe's teams 2-2 against NC State coach Chuck Amato's.
improve Wake Forest to 11-9 away from Groves Stadium under Grobe.
improve Grobe's four-year record at Wake Forest to 22-19 and 55-52-1 in his career.
give Wake Forest an all-time record of 374-561-33.
give the Deacs an all-time ACC record of 98-244-5.
A Loss This Week Would...
make Wake Forest's season record 3-2 for the second straight year under Grobe.
snap Wake Forest's three-game winning streak.
make Wake Forest 32-60-6 all-time against NC State.
give Wake Forest its 10th straight loss in Raleigh against NC State since 1984.
give the Wolfpack their fifth victory in eight years against the Deacons.
make Grobe's teams 1-3 against NC State coach Chuck Amato's.
drop Wake Forest to 10-10 away from Groves Stadium under Grobe.
drop Grobe's four-year record at Wake Forest to 21-20 and 54-53-1 in his career.
give Wake Forest an all-time record of 373-562-33.
give the Deacs an all-time ACC record of 97-245-5.
Since Jim Grobe's arrival in 2001, Wake Forest has posted a very successful 12-3 record against in-state opponents. The Deacons are 4-0 against East Carolina, 3-0 vs. Duke, 2-1 vs. North Carolina, 1-0 vs. Appalachian State, 1-0 vs. North Carolina A&T and 1-2 vs. NC State.
During that same time period against in-state rivals, NC State is 8-2, North Carolina is 6-5, Duke is 2-8 and East Carolina is 0-7.
Always Making It Interesting
Twenty of the 40 games in the Jim Grobe era -- exactly half -- at Wake Forest have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the season opener every year.
The 2001 meeting between these schools fell into that category as NC State won at Groves Stadium 17-14.
Leftovers From Boston CollegeSeniors Brad White and R.D. Montgomery were the captains. The Deacons won the toss.
Tight ends R.D. Montgomery and John Tereshinski made their first career starts when the Deacons came out in a two tight end set. Starting tight end Zac Selmon missed the BC game with a groin strain.
Jonathan Abbate's first quarter interception was his first career pick and the team's seventh interception of the season which leads the ACC.
The 53-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Nate Morton to Chris Davis was the second touchdown catch of the season for Davis and the first touchdown pass for Morton. Last year, Morton hit Cory Randolph on a 42-yard pass play against NC State. Morton's career passing numbers: 2-for-2 for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Two of Davis' career receiving touchdowns have come against the Eagles.
When the Deacons allowed an Eagle touchdown with 11 seconds left, it broke a streak of 107 minutes and two seconds. Wake Forest had not allowed a touchdown since the third quarter of the East Carolina game -- a span that lasted six complete quarters and portions of two additional periods.
Ben Mauk's third quarter interception was the first of his career and just the second thrown by Deacon quarterbacks this fall.
When Boston College went in front 14-10 with 9:08 to go, it marked the first time the Deacons had trailed since the end of the season-opening game at Clemson, a span of more than 170 minutes.
The BC game marked the 10th come from behind victory for the Deacons in the Jim Grobe era, the first of 2004.
The Deacons have scored in 14 of 16 quarters this season. Wake Forest scored in each of the season's first 11 quarters of regulation. The streak came to an end against North Carolina A&T when the Deacons did not add to their 42-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The only other quarter where Wake Forest failed to score was the third quarter against Boston College.
Deacons Winning The Turnover Battle
Wake Forest has yet to lose the turnover battle this season which has helped enable the Deacons to get out to a 3-1 start.
Wake Forest is +4 on the season to tie for second in the league with Florida State.
The Deacons have intercepted seven passes to lead the ACC and rank eighth nationally. Josh Gattis has a team-leading two picks. Wake has also forced two fumbles.
On the flipside, Wake Forest has taken good care of the football with only five giveaways, second in the ACC.
Normally, Cory Randolph isn't the type of quarterback to put up eye-popping passing numbers. As the starting quarterback in 16 games, Randolph has only three games where he has thrown for 200 yards or more.
Randolph is capable of airing it out (311 yards at UNC last year and 344 at ECU), passing yards don't begin to tell Randolph's impact on the game.
The Lake City, Fla., junior ranks third in the ACC, and 27th nationally, in passing efficiency, ahead of preseason Heisman candidates Chris Rix (FSU) and Charlie Whitehurst (Clemson).
Randolph has completed 55.4 percent of his passes and thrown just one interception, to tie for the league lead among starting quarterbacks with UVa's Marques Hagans.
Anderson On The Verge Of Returning
If Jason Anderson is indeed able to return from an ankle injury on Saturday, the Deacons would expect to have all of its wide receivers healthy for the first time this year.
Wake Forest went to Clemson without Nate Morton (knee). The next week at East Carolina, on the second play from scrimmage, Anderson went down with an ankle sprain.
Without Anderson, one of the ACC's top receivers, the Deacon wideouts have stepped up their performance as a unit.
At East Carolina, Morton rebounded from his knee injury with a career-best five catches for 142 yards and a touchdown.
Against Boston College, Chris Davis had a career-best performance with seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. Willie Idlette caught the game-winning touchdown, a 40-yarder with 1:09 to go.
The return of Anderson, who recorded eight receptions and 171 yards in less than five quarters, would make Wake Forest's receivers one of the deepest groups in the ACC, if not one of the most productive.
At 18.7 yards per catch, Anderson leads the nation's active receivers. He is already Wake Forest's career leader in that category and ranks sixth all-time in the ACC.
Against Clemson, Anderson made his 100th career reception and moved into eighth place in Deacon history.
Anderson is one of just seven active receivers in the country with at least 1,900 career yards and 15 career touchdowns.
Early Reviews On The 4-3 Are Positive
Wake Forest's switch to a more traditional 4-3 defense after three years in a 3-3-5 made headlines in the offseason.
Four weeks into the season, the switch can be considered a success. The Deacons are allowing less than 18 points per game and have allowed just three rushing touchdowns thusfar.
Wake Forest leads in the ACC in interceptions (seven) and ranks second in the ACC in red zone defense, allowing points just 50 percent of the time (seven of 14 opportunities).
Last year, the Deacons allowed opponents to convert on exactly 50 percent of their third down chances. This year, Wake Forest has cut that number down to 35 percent.
Getting Thrown To Wolves
If yards allowed are the best measure of defensive performance, then NC State has the best defense in the ACC by a wide margin. The Wolfpack are giving up just 165.3 yards per game, almost 50 fewer yards than anyone in the league.
They've held Richmond, Ohio State and Virginia Tech to just two combined touchdowns and a miniscule 1.7 yards per rush.
Needless to say, it'll be a big test for the Deacons whose bread and butter has been the running game.
Wake Forest, however, has led the ACC in rushing for the last three years under Jim Grobe. In fact, Grobe team's -- at Ohio and Wake Forest -- have led their respective conferences in rushing each year since 1996.
Third Down Difference
One of the interesting battles to watch in Saturday's game will be Wake Forest's third down offense vs. NC State's third down defense.
The Deacons have picked up 36 conversions on third down to lead the ACC. Their 56.2 percent success rate ranks second in the league.
Defensively, NC State has been downright stingy, allowing just a 20 percent success rate on third down on 50 attempts.
Abbate Count Continues To Rise
Jonathan Abbate leads Wake Forest with 31 tackles. He is tied for the ACC lead with 23 solo tackles.
And he's just a redshirt freshman.
Abbate's 23 solo tackles are 16 more than any other ACC freshman.
The Powder Springs, Ga., native had five solo stops, nine total, against Boston College with a tackle for loss and his first career interception.
Against North Carolina A&T, he recorded eight solo stops. At Clemson, Abbate recorded nine tackles, including six solo tackles, the most tackles by a Deacon rookie in a single game since 2001 when Eric King made 11 stops vs. Georgia Tech.
For his effort against the Tigers, Abbate was named the ACC's Rookie of the Week.
Touchdown Streak Ends At 107 Minutes
The Wake Forest defense went 107 minutes and two seconds without allowing a touchdown.
The streak began after East Carolina got into the endzone with 1:13 to go in the third quarter on Sept. 11.
Wake Forest allowed only a field goal against North Carolina A&T -- which snapped a 66 minute scoreless streak.
Last week, Boston College finally broke through with 11 seconds left in the first half.
The streak lasted six full quarters and portions of two additional periods.
During that span, opponents combined for 17 possessions and only three points. The Deacons forced seven punts, four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble), three stops on downs and three missed field goals.
Chris Barclay, a junior from Louisville, Ky., is the leading rusher among active ACC players with 2,247 career yards. Last week, he catapuled from ninth to sixth place in the Wake Forest record book for rushing yards in a career. Earlier this year, Barclay ran wild against Clemson for 179 yards and was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week. He is averaging 88 yards per game to rank fourth in the ACC.
Barclay, a second-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore, has now rushed for at least 100 yards in six of his last 11 games. Since the Georgia Tech game last October, Barclay has averaged more than 111 yards against the Yellow Jackets, Duke, Florida State, Clemson (twice), North Carolina, Connecticut, Maryland, East Carolina, NC A&T and Boston College.
With one more touchdown, Barclay will become the 12th active Division I player -- and the only player in the Atlantic Coast Conference -- to have 2,200 career yards and 25 touchdowns on their collegiate resume. Barclay will be one of just four juniors on the national level to have accomplished the feat. The others are Marion Barber III (Minnesota), DonTrelle Moore (New Mexico) and Brad Smith (Missouri).
If Barclay stays healthy, he should eventually move into third place on the Wake Forest rushing chart this year.
Milestone WatchBarclay now has 2,247 yards for his career. He needs 223 yards to pass Topper Clemons (1982-85) to move into fifth place, 304 yards to pass Morgan Kane (1996-99) to move into fourth place and 335 yards to pass Tarence Williams (1999-2002) to claim third place.
Barclay rushed for two touchdowns against NC A&T for his 23rd and 24th career touchdowns. That puts him in fourth place for the most touchdown runs in Deacon history. He is five touchdowns away from passing Larry Russell for third place.
Barclay has 144 career points, 10th place on the Wake Forest scoring chart. He is two points behind Todd Dixon for 9th place, seven points behind Phil Denfeld for 8th place, 10 points behind Mike Green for 7th place and 30 points behind Ricky Proehl for 6th place.
Anderson ranks 8th on the Wake Forest career receiving charts with 1,929 career receiving yards. He needs 46 yards to pass Red O'Quinn (1946-49) to move into seventh place, 112 yards to pass James Brim (1983-86) for sixth place.
Anderson has 103 career receptions, good for 16th in Wake Forest history. He needs 17 catches to tie for the top-10.
Anderson continues to own the Wake Forest career mark for yards per reception. At 18.7 yards per catch, Anderson also currently ranks sixth in ACC history.
With 31 career pass breakups, Eric King is tied for third in Wake Forest history. He needs one to pass Tony Mosley (1986-88) for sole possessions of third place and five to pass George Coghill (1989-92) for second place.
With 103 career punts for a total of 4,622 yards, Ryan Plackemeier has an average of 44.87 yards per boot. That mark ranks first all-time in both Wake Forest and Atlantic Coast Conference history. It also ranks first among all active NCAA punters.
With 147 career points, Matt Wisnosky ranks 9th place in the Wake Forest record book. He is four points behind Phil Denfeld for 8th place, seven points behind Mike Green for 7th place.
Wisnosky has made 23 straight PAT attempts and 59 of his last 60 extra points since October 2002.
With 72 extra points, Wisnosky ranks third in Wake Forest history. He needs eight to pass Matthew Burdick (1979-82) for second place.
Odds & Ends
Cory Randolph's 300-yard passing, 100-yard rushing performance at East Carolina put him into select company. Only Charlie Ward (FSU) and Woody Dantzler (Clemson) had ever accomplished the feat before. For the record, Randolph finished with 344 yards in the air and 107 yards on the ground -- both career-highs.
When the Deacons failed to score a rushing touchdown against Boston College, it was a first in the Jim Grobe era -- a stretch of 47 straight games.
Wake Forest's 39-point margin of victory against North Carolina A&T was the largest of the Jim Grobe era and the most by a Deacon team since 1999 when Wake Forest beat UAB 47-3 at Groves Stadium.
Jim Grobe's teams have led their conference in rushing for the last eight years -- 1996 to 2000 at Ohio and 2001 to present at Wake Forest.
Blake Lingruen survived a scare last December when he was hit by a drunk driver while on a sidewalk in Ohio. He rolled up and over the car but suffered only a broken wrist and a few scratches. Lingruen's friends were able to get the license plate and the driver was convicted on a DUI and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Lingruen was ready to go on day one of spring practice.
During the summer, Jason Anderson attended a wide receiver camp in Los Angeles where he caught 100 passes a day and worked out with other collegiate receivers.
Ryan Plackemeier worked hard in the weight room this offseason and while at home in his native California, he practiced punting into the wind on the beaches to increase leg strength.
Brad White will finish his undergraduate degree in analytical finance this December and simultaneously get his graduate degree in accountancy. Last spring, White earned a 4.0 grade point average.
The Deacons will be the last Division I team to get on an airplane for a road trip this fall. Wake Forest won't have to fly to any road games until Nov. 20 when the Deacons play Miami's Orange Bowl. Of the 117 Division I football teams, only Western Michigan will not fly to any road games.
Grobe Gets 20th Win At Wake Forest
When Wake Forest beat North Carolina A&T, it was Jim Grobe's 20th victory as Wake Forest's head coach.
Grobe is the second fastest coach to reach the 20-win level in Wake Forest history. He needed 39 games to get there. Only D.C. "Peahead" Walker (1937-1950) got there faster. He earned his 20th victory in his 36th game as head coach.
Wake Forest coaches through 40 games:
D.C. Walker 1937-41 22-18
Jim Grobe 2001-04 21-19
Bill Dooley 1987-90 17-22-1
Al Groh 1981-86 15-25
Wake Forest's 18 wins in Grobe's first three seasons are the most wins in any three-year period since 1986-88.
Deacons Make The Grade
During the summer, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) honored Wake Forest as having one of the top five graduation rates in all of college football.
As a team, Wake Forest posted a graduation rate of 94 percent. The national average was 59 percent.
Boston College, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State were also in the top five.
Other ACC schools which earned distinction for having a rate of 70 percent or better included Duke, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
On This Date
1954 -- In just the second year of ACC football, the Deacons blanked NC State 26-0 in Raleigh for its fourth straight win in the series. From 1930-1954, a span of 25 games, Wake Forest won 15, lost six and tied four.