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Deacons get set for home opener against I-AA Aggies

Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004

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After two road games to open the 2004 season, Wake Forest finally returns to Groves Stadium to play its home opener on Saturday against North Carolina A&T at 6:30 p.m.

Wake Forest is fresh off its first victory of the season, a 31-17 win at East Carolina. The game was marked by a spectacular all-around performance by junior quarterback Cory Randolph.

North Carolina A&T is 1-1 after a heartbreaking 16-13 loss at Alcorn State.

Separated by only 34 miles, Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the Deacons and the Aggies on the gridiron. In fact, Wake Forest will be North Carolina A&T's first-ever Division I-A opponent.

Wake Forest will play just one road game between now and November 20 when the Deacons travel to Miami.

The Cory Details
Junior quarterback Cory Randolph became the first Demon Deacon, and third ACC player, to ever throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. The only other players in conference history to accomplish the feat are Charlie Ward of Florida State (vs. Maryland in 1992, 506 total yards, 111 rushing, 395 passing) and Woody Dantzler of Clemson (vs. NC State in 2001, 517 total yards,184 rushing, 333 passing).

Randolph finished with 344 yards passing and 107 yards rusing for a total of 451 yards of total offense, the fourth-highest since game total since Rusty LaRue set the ACC record in 1995. His passing and rushing totals were career-best performances.

Randolph was named ACC Offensive Back by the league's select media panel on Monday.

In-State Superiority
Since Jim Grobe's arrival in 2001, Wake Forest has posted a very successful 11-3 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 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.

Plack Attack
Junior punter Ryan Plackemeier was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list, the Greater Augusta Sports Council announced last week. The Ray Guy Award is presented annually to college football's best punter by a national selection committee.

Plackemeier, a 6-foot-4, 235 pound native of Bonsall, Calif., was a first-team All-ACC pick last fall. He led the ACC and ranked sixth nationally in punting with a school season-record average of 45.6 yards per boot. Plackemeier put 11 of his 57 punts inside the 20 yard line and had a long punt of 67 yards.

Coming into the 2004 season, Plackemeier's 44.8 career punting average ranks first all-time at Wake Forest and in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Deacon Offense Piles Up Big Yards
With 584 yards of total offense at East Carolina, the 2004 Deacon offense etched a place in the Wake Forest record book. The total marked the fifth-best offensive performance of all-time and the most yards in a game since 1979 vs. Auburn.

Wake Forest was just 49 yards away from breaking the school record set against North Carolina in 1968.

Leftovers From East Carolina

Redshirt freshman Matt Robinson made his first career start at defensive end in place of the injured Bryan Andrews. Joe Salsich made his first start of the season in place of the injured Brodie Overstreet.
The Deacons were the only Division I-A team in North Carolina to post a victory last Saturday.
Saturday's captains were Eric King and Jason Anderson.
Eric King got his first interception of the 2004 season, the seventh of his career. Oddly enough, four of his seven career picks have come against East Carolina.
Kevin Marion and Damon McWhite both recorded the first receptions of their careers.
When ECU's Chris Johnson broke off an 86-yard touchdown run, it was the fifth longest run by a Deacon opponent and the longest since 1986.
From The Training Room
The injury report for The North Carolina A&T Game:

Out: LB James Adams (knee sprain; indefinitely). LB Brandon Drumgoole (broken fibula; season), FB Damon McWhite (knee sprain), OG Brodie Overstreet (eye; indefinitely).
Doubtful: WR Jason Anderson (ankle sprain).
Questionable: DE Bryan Andrews (shin, ankle), OG Arby Jones (shoulder), WR Cassiel Smith (ankle).
Probable: OG Greg Adkins (mild knee sprain), OG Steve Vallos (quadricep contusion).
A Win This Week Would...

make Wake Forest's season record 2-1 for the third time in four years under Jim Grobe.
make Wake Forest a perfect 4-0 in home openers under Grobe.
give Wake Forest a 1-0 record against the Aggies.
be back-to-back wins for the Deacons for the first time since the first two games of 2003.
make Wake Forest 10-10 at home under Grobe.
improve Grobe's four-year record at Wake Forest to 20-19 and 53-52-1 in his career.
improve Grobe's record vs. in-state rivals to 12-3 since his arrival in 2001.
give Wake Forest an all-time record of 372-561-33.
A Loss This Week Would...

make Wake Forest's season record 1-2 for the second time in four years under Jim Grobe.
snap Wake Forest's string of three straight victories in home openers under Grobe.
give Wake Forest an 0-1 all-time record against North Carolina A&T and its first loss to a Division I-AA team since 2000 against Appalachian State.
make Wake Forest 9-11 at home under Grobe.
drop Grobe's four-year record at Wake Forest to 19-20 and 52-53-1 in his career.
drop Grobe's record vs. in-state rivals to 11-4 since his arrival in 2001.
give Wake Forest an all-time record of 371-562-33.
Deacons Make A Good First Impression
Wake Forest has won each of its home openers under Jim Grobe and look to make it a perfect 4-0 this week.

Wake Forest beat Appalachian State 20-10 in 2001, beat East Carolina 27-22 in 2002, and 14th-ranked NC State 38-24 in 2003.

The Deacons are 23-13 in home openers since Groves Stadium opened in 1968.

< Chris Barclay, a junior from Louisville, Ky., is the leading rusher among active ACC players with 2,140 career yards. He ranks ninth in Wake Forest history, but needs just 107 yards to catapult into sixth place.

Despite being limited to 66 yards at East Carolina, Barclay still ranks second in the ACC in rushing this season on the strength of a 179-yard game at Clemson.

Barclay is averaging 122.5 yards per game and was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week for his efforts at Clemson.

Barclay, a second-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore, has now rushed for at least 100 yards in six of his last nine games. Since the Georgia Tech game last October, Barclay has averaged more than 131 yards against the Yellow Jackets, Duke, Florida State, Clemson (twice), North Carolina, Connecticut, Maryland and East Carolina.

Barclay has passed the 2,000 career rushing mark. He is one of 14 Division I players -- the only player in the Atlantic Coast Conference -- to have 2,000 career yards and 20 touchdowns on their collegiate resume. Barclay is 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.

Anderson Banged Up
Jason Anderson left the East Carolina game after the second play from scrimmage with an ankle sprain. Anderson was injured while making a 32-yard catch up the right sideline. His status for this weekend is doubtful.

He would likely be replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore Nate Morton, who caught five passes for a career-best 142 yards and a touchdown against ECU.

The loss of Anderson would be notable, however. The senior from Charlotte has only missed two games in his four year career and has 14 straight starts to his credit.

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 eight active receivers in the country with at least 1,900 career yards and 15 career touchdowns.

Nate The Great
Redshirt sophomore Nate Morton missed the Clemson game with a knee injury, but came back in a big way at East Carolina.

He made five catches for a career-best 142 yards including a 62-yard touchdown grab, the first of his career.

Morton was seeing extra snaps while Jason Anderson was sidelined with an ankle sprain.

Morton, a big target at 6-foot-4, emerged in the second half last season. He made 12 of his 14 receptions last season during the month of November.

Spreading The Wealth
Cory Randolph's 16 completions against East Carolina went to eight different receivers.

By comparison, the most receivers to match a catch in a game last year was six -- against Georgia Tech.

Damon McWhite, Kevin Marion and R.D. Montgomery grabbed their first career receptions.

Milestone Watch
Chris Barclay

With 66 yards at East Carolina, Barclay now has 2,140 yards for his career. He needs 64 yards to pass Anthony Williams (1988-91) to move into eighth place, 73 yards to pass Larry Hopkins (1970-71) to move into seventh place, 107 yards to pass John Leach (1990-93) to move into sixth place.
Barclay broke off a 50-yard score for his 22nd career touchdown at Clemson. That ties Tarence Williams for the fourth-most touchdown runs in Wake Forest history. He is seven touchdowns away from passing Larry Russell for third place.
Barclay has 132 career points, tied with Red O'Quinn for 12th place all-time. He needs eight points to tie Brian Piccolo for 10th-place all-time.
Jason Anderson

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.
Ryan Plackemeier

With 95 career punts for a total of 4,264, Ryan Plackemeier has an average of 44.8 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.
Matt Wisnosky

With 137 career points, Matt Wisnosky is only three points away from tying Brian Piccolo for 10th place in the Wake Forest record book. Todd Dixon ranks ninth with 146 points.
Wisnosky has made 16 straight PAT attempts and 52 of his last 53 extra points since October 2002.
Coming Down To The Wire
Nineteen of the 38 games in the Jim Grobe era -- more than half -- at Wake Forest have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the season opener every year.

Red Zone Proficiency
The Deacons have been efficient in the red zone, scoring on four of its six trips. One of those stops, however, was when Wake Forest was running out the clock in the fourth quarter at East Carolina.

The other failed opportunity came in the first quarter in Greenville when the Deacons missed a 37-yard field goal.

King Selected to Preseason Nagurski List
During the summer, senior cornerback Eric King was selected to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list, which is a compilation of the best defensive players in college football regardless of position, chosen by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

King, a 5-foot-10, 185 pound cornerback from Woodstock, Md., was a first-team All-ACC pick last fall and was chosen as Wake Forest's MVP by his teammates. He started all 11 games and led the ACC in passes defended with 18, including 15 breakups and three interceptions. As a sophomore, King was honorable mention All-ACC and started each contest.

King is one of 60 defensive players on the list.

The winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, will be named on Dec. 6 at a banquet in Charlotte, N.C. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be the keynote speaker.

Lingruen Considered For Outland Trophy
Senior center Blake Lingruen has been selected to the Outland Trophy preseason watch list by the FWAA.

The Outland Trophy annually is presented to the top interior lineman in college football on either side of the ball - tackles, centers, guards - in a vote of the FWAA All-America Team Committee in late November.

Lingruen, a 6-foot-4, 298 pound center from Liberty Center, Ohio, started 11 games last year for the Demon Deacons despite suffering a knee sprain in the season opener.

He was chosen by The Sporting News as a second-team junior class All-American. Lingruen graded out at 88 percent for the season and averaged 9.3 knockdowns per game. He was the ACC Lineman of the Week after helping pave the way for five rushing touchdowns against Duke.

Lingruen is one of 57 interior lineman on the preseason watch list.

Presented since 1946, the Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

It is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the century.

Odds & Ends

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.
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 receievers.
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.
Rookie Report
Although the Wake Forest coaching staff would prefer to redshirt each of its freshmen this fall, the staff philosophy is that the best players will play.

As many as five true freshmen could see the field this fall. At Clemson and East Carolina, defensive end Jeremy Thompson and walk-on long snapper Nick Jarvis played.

Defensive back Alphonso Smith, linebacker Eric Berry and Aaron Curry were on the travel roster but did not play.

Trading Places Although the Wake Forest coaching staff remains intact from 2003, there have been some adjustments in position assignments.

Ray McCartney, formerly the defensive line coach, is now concentrating solely on defensive tackles.

Keith Henry, who coached cornerbacks in 2003, will oversee Wake Forest's defensive ends.

Defensive coordinator Dean Hood will coach the entire secondary in 2004 after working specifically with the safeties last year.

Deacons Make The Grade
During the summer, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) honered 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.

Coming In Droves to Groves
Wake Forest set a new school season record for home attendance in 2003. In seven games, an average of 28,273 fans visited Groves Stadium (a total of 197,911 spectators). The school's season record was broken in 2002 as an average of 26,537 spectators attended six home dates at Groves. That average broke a 22-year-old record of 26,485 set in 1980. More on page 9.

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