college football picks Duke at Wake Forest 9-11-10

September 10, 2010


DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 11th, 12:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: BB&T Field (31,500) — Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television: Raycom Sports. Home Record: Duke 1-0, Wake Forest 1-0. Away Record: Duke 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Neutral Record: Duke 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Conference Record: Duke 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Series Record: Duke leads, 53-35-2.

GAME NOTES: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will look to continue their dominance over their ACC rival this Saturday when they host the Duke Blue Devils at BB&T Field.

The Blue Devils currently own a commanding, 53-35-2 edge over Wake Forest in the all-time series. However, over the past decade the Demon Deacons have dominated the series, winning 10 straight meetings, including a 45-34 victory last year at Duke.

The Blue Devils stormed out of the gates in 2010 by punishing Elon, 41-27. Enter his third season at Duke, coach David Cutcliffe is looking to bring the Blue Dev above the .500 plateau, after leading the team to just nine total wins in his fi two seasons.

The Demon Deacons closed out last year with that 11-point victory over Duke, but overall the 2009-2010 campaign for Wake Forest was a let down, as the team finished with just five wins. Looking to put that season behind them, the Demon Deacons opened the new year with a convincing 53-13 victory over Presbyterian. Clearly the opposition was not a tough matchup for coach Jim Grobe’s gang, but the dominating performance is a good start to the season.

The Blue Devils exploded offensively in their opener and although the victory ca against an FCS school in Elon, the team still showcased a very balanced attack.

Duke pulverized Elon on the ground for 192 yards, while Desmond Scott led the way with 77 yards and one score. Brandon Connette added 48 yards, while Josh Snead tallied 29 yards and one touchdown.

Last year Thaddeus Lewis led the Blue Devils under center, but now in 2010 it is Sean Renfree’s squad, and the new signal caller did not disappoint in the opener. Renfree threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns, completing an outstanding 31-of-39 passes.

Conner Vernon was the main target for Renfree, as he hauled in 10 passes for 129 yards. Donovan Varner also had a solid season debut, grabbing seven receptions for 123 yards and one score.

What could be a problem for coach Cutcliffe is the play of the defense, which surrendered 27 points in the win over Elon.

Duke surrendered 406 total yards in its opener, and 281 of those yards came through the air. On the bright side, the Blue Devils did collect two interceptions, and also posted a pair of sacks in the win.

The defense also had trouble stopping the run, as the Phoenix rumbled for 125 yards on 6.0 yards per attempt. Clearly not much went right for this unit, but if there was something for coach Cutcliffe to be happy about it would be the play of Lee Butler, who led the team with nine tackles.

The Deacons opened the season with a dominant performance against Presbyterian. Wake Forest scored early and often, posting 35 points in the first half alone.

The majority of the success for Wake Forest came on the ground, as Grobe’s squad rumbled for 415 yards and six rushing touchdowns. Surprisingly wideout Devon Brown led the Deacons with 91 rushing yards, but the majority of that total came on an 85-yard touchdown scamper.

Quarterback Ted Stachitas did most of the work, posting 76 yards on 10 totes, to go along with one touchdown as well, while starting tailback Josh Adams opened the season with 44 yards and one score. Clearly Stachitas was effective with his legs, but he left plenty to be desired with his arm, finishing with just 84 yards on 7-of-13 passing.

The redshirt sophomore will not be able to run that freely against those tough ACC squads, so he will need to improve his passing. In fact, the ground game as whole will probably not reach that level of success again this season, so the pa game must improve quickly. If anyone is going to have consistent success on the for Wake Forest it will likely be Adams, who led the team last year with 541 yar and four touchdowns.

The Demon Deacons are usually a strong defensive squad, but last season the unit was ineffective, and that is what caused the team to finish below .500.

As mentioned earlier, Presbyterian is not the best way to judge if Wake Forest is for real this season, but since all the Deacons can do is play who is on their schedule, the defense went out and did a solid job.

Wake Forest held the opposition to just 70 rushing yards on 2.1 ypc, but surprisingly against the pass the Deacons were terrible, surrendering 292 yards. Safety Alex Frye did return an interception for a 74-yard touchdown late in the quarter, but other than that, the Deacons clearly had issues against the pass.

Kyle Wilber had a tremendous showing in the opener, as the defensive end finished with eight tackles and five TFLs. Out of the five TFLs, three were sacks. He also forced a fumble in the victory.

The Deacons have dominated the series over the past few seasons, and should continue to enjoy success against Duke. The Blue Devils might have won in their opener, but the defense performed poorly and should have plenty of problems against Wake Forest.


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