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Wake Forest defense defeats offense in modified spring game, 41-22

Posted Saturday, April 9, 2005

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Defense forces four turnovers, allows two touchdowns

Winston-Salem, N.C. -- The Wake Forest defense forced four turnovers and allowed two touchdowns to “defeat” the offense 41-22 under a modified scoring system in the Spring Game at Groves Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The coaching staff set up a scoring system which rewarded the offense and defense for scores, turnovers and field position.

An estimated crowd of 2,500 enthusiastic Deacon fans caught a glimpse of the 2005 team, including 17 newcomers in the freshmen class.

Rising junior Patrick Ghee led the defense with seven tackles from his safety position to go with two interceptions, a pass break-up and one sack. Sophomore Jonathan Abbate, Wake Forest’s leading tackler in 2004, had six stops.

The defense almost completely shut down the ground attack, limiting the offense to only 28 yards on 34 carries. Micah Andrews was the leading rusher with just 17 yards on eight carries.

The Wake Forest pass rush was also effective, sacking the quarterbacks five times. Matt Robinson led the defense with two sacks. Pierre Easley also had a sack and two tackles for loss.

The game saw 80 snaps from the line of scrimmage. The offense threw the ball 46 times, or 58 percent of the time. Wake Forest quarterbacks combined to go 24-of-46 for 371 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Ben Mauk and Cory Randolph saw the majority of the time under center. Mauk went 6-of-16 for 163 yards including a 48-yard bomb to Willie Idlette. Four of Mauk’s completions were for 20 yards or more. Mauk threw for one touchdown, the game’s first score, a 13-yard pass to Chris Barclay who leaked out of the backfield after Mauk slipped out of the pocket to avoid a sack.

Mauk later threw a pair of interceptions to Ghee and Stanley Arnoux. One of those passes was intercepted after the ball was tipped in traffic.

Randolph was an efficient 8-of-10 for 83 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His longest completion of the afternoon was a 23-yard toss to Zac Selmon.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Allan Holland impressed with a couple nice throws on the run. He finished his day 6-of-13 for 64 yards including a 24-yard completion to senior Chris Davis. Davis led all Deacon receivers with six receptions for 123 yards. Willie Idlette made five catches for 91 yards.

The longest completion of the day was a 49-yard catch and run from quarterback Ben Rieling to David Hobson, both walk-ons, up the near sideline. Moments later, Rieling hit a sliding Trey Schmidt in the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown score.

In all, 15 different players had receptions including Demir Boldin, Kevin Marion and junior Will Hollis who each made two catches. Andrews, Barclay, Richard Belton, Dan Callahan, Alonzo Chisholm, Hobson, Kenneth Moore, Zac Selmon and Travo Woods each chipped in with one catch.

If the Spring Game is any indication, the Deacons should have two very solid kicking specialists in senior All-ACC punter Ryan Plackemeier and new placekicker Sam Swank. Plackemeier surprised no one but still had the fans and the media in awe early in the scrimmage. His first punt went 69 yards in the air before being caught by a retreating Alphonso Smith.

On field goal attempts, Swank nailed 6-of-9 kicks including makes from 42, 42, 47, 47, 52 and 52. His misses came from 31, 47 and 55 -- a kick that had the distance missed wide left.

The game concluded spring practice for Wake Forest. The Deacons will begin to eye the season opener at Groves Stadium on Thursday, September 1 against Vanderbilt.

Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jim Grobe

On the offense and defense?
“I think obviously consistency is very important on offense, and with defense I’m concerned about having lulls every now
and then in the game. The defense needs to keep up the intensity and offense needs to have consistency.”

On leadership this season?
“We need leadership from all of our groups because we don’t have a lot of seniors. We need to ask our sophomores and
juniors to be leaders. We need to draw from each other and have examples set by everyone.”

Concerns this season?
“My biggest concern is that we only have four defensive tackles.”

Jonathan Abbate

On the impact you have?
“I just go out there every game hoping to play my best and to play like I always play. From sideline to sideline I try to give
110%, because I know each down could be my last.”

On hitting and defense?
“I really just try to bust the runners out there, the contact is the best part of the game. It hurts when you hit but it feels so
good to make a good tackle. I’d rather hit than be hit, I love playing on the defense”

On the upcoming season?
“I’ve tried to work hard in the weight room and get into better condition. It’s all mental this season, I’ve studied film a lot,
and it’s all about mental, not physical this year.”

Chris Barclay

On team during spring season?
“We’ve made a lot of strides and come a long way. The chemistry of the team has improved and so has the maturity.
Experience has played a big role in this. We were very young last year and had to learn on the fly, but during the
offseason it’s been good for us. We’ve been able to get into the playbook.”

On your touchdown catch?
“You have to be multi-faceted as a running back. You have to be able to run and to catch, I just try to do it all.”

On running game of Wake Forest?
“The running game is our bread and butter. We knew we liked the passing game so the coaches have worked hard to
establish the passing game. We want to be able to move the chains every down and keep the defense off balance.”
Ben Mauk

On the offense in general?
“We need to work on our timing and keep everyone on the same page. We push each other, but we’re all getting better,
we’re all in this together.”

On the offensive line?
“They have really improved, we’ve gotten a lot better since last fall. Everything is falling into place with our new offense
and I think it will work out really well. I think with this offense, we will get to a bowl game and win.”

On the scrimmage, was the defense better today?
“We scrimmaged against our own defense, so they knew all of our plays today, since we’ve practiced with them all week.”

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Wake Forest defense defeats offense in modified spring game, 41-22
WFU QB Cory Randolph was an efficient 8-of-10 for 83 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
photo by Gene Galin
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