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ACC announces Wake Forest's 2006 football schedule

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006

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Deacons to face four of last year's top 25 teams

Winston-Salem, NC - The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its 2006 football schedule Wednesday. Wake Forest's slate features five teams that participated in bowl games last season, all of which won a postseason game.

Four of Wake Forest's 2006 opponents finished the 2005 season ranked in the Associated Press top 25. The Demon Deacons have faced four top 25 opponents in the same year only once in program history -- in 1993.

"The schedule is very challenging and we are looking forward to it," sixth-year head coach Jim Grobe said. "We've got some really good teams out-of-conference and as usual, a strong ACC slate. This season should be a lot of fun for our players and fans alike."

Wake Forest's season opener is Sept. 2 at Groves Stadium against Syracuse. It will be the first-ever meeting between the programs on the gridiron. Syracuse's second-year head coach Greg Robinson has seen the Deacons at Groves Stadium, but not since 1981 when he was the linebackers coach at NC State.

Wake Forest opens its ACC schedule at home Sept. 9 against Coastal Division crossover rival Duke. The Demon Deacons and Blue Devils have not met in an ACC opener since 1967. Wake Forest has won six straight games against Duke and seven of the last 10 games at Groves Stadium.

The Deacons step out of the league for three straight weeks beginning Sept. 16 when they take on the Connecticut Huskies. It will be only the second meeting between the Deacons and Huskies and Wake Forest's first-ever trip to the Nutmeg State. Wake Forest will be seeking to avenge a November 2003 home loss that dashed any hopes for a second straight bowl game.

On Sept. 23, the Deacons travel to Oxford, Miss., for the first-ever meeting between Wake Forest and Ole Miss. Wake Forest will take a road trip into SEC country for the first time since 1994 when the Deacons traveled to Vanderbilt.

The non-conference schedule wraps up Sept. 30 at Groves Stadium against I-AA Liberty. The Flames are guided by first year coach Danny Rocco, Wake Forest's starting quarterback in 1982-83. Rocco comes to Liberty from the University of Virginia where he coached alongside Al Groh, the Deacon head coach in the early-1980's. Rocco graduated from Wake Forest with a degree in speech communication. Liberty is only Wake Forest's third I-AA opponent since Jim Grobe arrived in 2001. The Deacons defeated Appalachian State in 2001 and North Carolina A&T in 2004.

As the calendar turns to October, Wake Forest's ACC schedule hits full stride. For the second straight year, Clemson ventures to Groves Stadium. The Deacons have won two of the last three contests against the Tigers, including both meetings in Winston-Salem. The only loss during that stretch was a double-overtime thriller in Death Valley in 2004. The Deacons defeated Tigers 31-27 last year at Groves Stadium.

On Oct. 14, the Deacons play NC State in Raleigh. Home field advantage has played a significant role in the series. Wake Forest has won four of the last five games at Groves Stadium, but hasn't won at Carter-Finley Stadium since 1984. That streak includes a 27-21 overtime loss in 2004. Last year, the Deacons upended the Wolfpack 27-19 and both teams tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

After seven straight Saturdays, the Deacons get an open date on Oct. 21 to rest for the stretch run.

One of the oldest rivalries in NCAA history resumes Oct. 28 as the Deacons travel to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels. The Wake Forest-North Carolina series was interrupted last season for the first time since 1943, a span of 61 years. The series is the second-most played in ACC history with 101 meetings. Kenan Stadium was the site for one of the most memorable wins in Wake Forest history when the Deacons rallied from a 24-point halftime deficit to win 32-31 on Nov. 10, 2001. The Deacons and Tar Heels have split the last six meetings.

Wake Forest and Boston College meet for the fourth straight year, the second time as ACC rivals. The Eagles come to Groves Stadium on Nov. 4. Each of the last three games have been decided in the final seconds and by five points or less. Last time in Winston-Salem, the Deacons scored a touchdown with 69 seconds remaining to lift Wake Forest to a 17-14 victory. In Chestnut Hill last year, it was the Eagles who rallied from a nine-point deficit with less than two minutes to play to win 38-33.

For the second straight year, Wake Forest travels to Tallahassee to play Florida State. This year's contest will be played on Nov. 11, Veteran's Day, at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Deacons are looking to snap a 14-game losing streak to the Seminoles. Oddly, in each of Jim Grobe's three trips to Florida State, Wake Forest has scored exactly 24 points against Florida State.

Wake Forest's home finale comes Nov. 18 against Virginia Tech. The Deacons and Hokies did not see each other in 2005, but Virginia Tech returns to Groves Stadium for the second time in three years. In 2004, the Hokies and Deacons went down to the wire. Virginia Tech broke a 10-10 tie on a touchdown with about two minutes to go. Wake Forest drove the length of the field with a chance to tie before seeing its drive stall at the five yardline in the game's closing seconds.

For the fourth time in five years, Wake Forest will end its regular season with a meeting against Maryland. This year's edition will be played in College Park, Md., on Nov. 25, two days after Thanksgiving. The Deacons have dropped six in a row to the Terrapins, including last year's 22-12 decision at Groves Stadium. Wake Forest and Maryland tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division in 2005.

Wake Forest will not play Virginia for a second straight season. Miami and Georgia Tech rotate off the schedule in 2006 and 2007. Virginia returns to the schedule in 2007, Miami in 2008 and Georgia Tech in 2009.

Game times will not be determined until 12 days before each game date.

The Demon Deacons return 19 of 24 starters, including 10 on defense, eight on offense and one specialist, from last year's 4-7 team.

2006 Wake Forest Football Schedule Date Opponent Location
September 2 Syracuse Winston-Salem, N.C.
September 9 Duke Winston-Salem, N.C.
September 16 at Connecticut East Hartford, Conn.
September 23 at Ole Miss Oxford, Miss.
September 30 Liberty Winston-Salem, N.C.
October 7 Clemson Winston-Salem, N.C.
October 14 at NC State Raleigh, N.C.
October 21 Open Date
October 28 at North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C.
November 4 Boston College Winston-Salem, N.C.
November 11 at Florida State Tallahassee, Fla.
November 18 Virginia Tech Winston-Salem, N.C.
November 25 at Maryland College Park, Md.

 
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