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Wake Forest welcomes Clemson to Groves Stadium

Posted Thursday, September 29, 2005

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The Deacons and Tigers are playing for the 71st time.

Winston-Salem, NC - Wake Forest completes a three-game homestand this week as Clemson comes to Groves Stadium Saturday. Both the Demon Deacons (1-3) and Tigers (2-2) are coming off low-scoring home losses. Penalties and turnovers doomed Wake Forest in its ACC opening loss to Maryland, 22-12.

The Deacon rushing attack, ranked first in the ACC and eighth nationally prior to the Maryland game, was derailed. Wake Forest recorded a season-low 111 yards on the ground, less than three yards per carry. It was the second-lowest rushing total by a Jim Grobe Wake Forest team.

Clemson rallied from a 10-point first half deficit, but lost to Boston College, 16-13, its second overtime loss in as many weeks. Wake Forest and Clemson know something about overtime. Last year in Death Valley, the Tigers outlasted the Deacons after two extra frames, taking a 37-30 victory in the season opener for both teams. It was the longest game in Wake Forest history.

The Deacons and Tigers are playing for the 71st time. The teams have met each year since 1953. Clemson has won three of the four meetings since Jim Grobe came to Wake Forest prior to the 2001 season. The last game at Groves Stadium, in 2003, was a 45-17 Wake Forest win. The Deacons are seeking consecutive home wins against Clemson for the first time since 1948.

Return Of The Plack Attack
The ACC’s all-time leading punter and a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, senior Ryan Plackemeier has always owned one of the strongest legs in the country. He has 12 punts of at least 60 yards in his career.
Now, Plackemeier is one of the most accurate punters in the country and he is turning in an All-America-type season. He leads the ACC in net punting at 40.1 yards per kick and ranks eighth nationally in that category. Only 10 of Plackemeier’s 25 punts have been returned. Against Maryland, he had two punts downed at the two yard line and three inside the 20 yard line. Plackemeier is still kicking for distance, however. That hasn’t changed. He ranks 18th nationally at 43.8 yards per punt. Against the Terps, for example, Plackemeier booted four punts of at least 50 yards, including kicks of 60 and 61 yards. The 61-yarder matched a personal season-high and tied for the longest punt in the ACC this year.
Only Plackemeier and six other punters nationally rank in the top 20 in both net punting and average yards per punt.

Third Down Defense
One area the Deacons pinpointed in the offseason as an area for necessary improvement was third down defense.
Last season, the Deacons allowed opponents to convert 37 percent of their third down opportunities, including 18-of-76 (24 percent) on third and at least seven yards.
This season, Wake Forest has drastically improved that statistic. Opponents are picking up just 30 percent of their third down chances. More specifically, the Deacons have allowed just one first down in 21 opportunities on third-and-long.

From The Training Room
The injury report for the Clemson game:
Out: OT Louis Frazier (knee), OG Brodie Overstreet (eye). Doubtful: None. Questionable: None. Probable: Aaron Mason (concussion).

A Win This Week Would...
... give Wake Forest a 2-3 start for the first time since the 2002 season in which the Deacons eventually reached the Seattle Bowl.
... improve Wake Forest to 16-54-1 overall in the Clemson series.
... improve Wake Forest to 9-19-1 against Clemson at home.
... gives the Deacons two wins in the last three meetings against the Tigers.
... give the Deacons back-to-back home victories over the Tigers for the first time since 1946 (in Wake Forest, NC) and 1948 (in Winston-Salem).
... improve Wake Forest 7-14 all-time in nationally-televised games.
... improve Grobe’s record at Wake Forest 24-28 in five seasons and his all-time record to 57-61-1 in 11 seasons.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 13-14 in home games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 11-23 in all ACC games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 6-10 in home ACC games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 7-8 in October games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 15-19 in afternoon games.
... improve Wake Forest’s all-time record to 380-577-33.
... improve Wake Forest’s all-time ACC record to 99-252-5.

A Loss This Week Would...
... give Wake Forest a 1-4 start, its worst start since the 2000 season.
... drop Wake Forest to 15-55-1 overall in the Clemson series.
... drop Wake Forest to 8-20-1 against Clemson at home.
... give Clemson 10 wins in the last 12 games against the Deacons.
... drop Wake Forest 6-15 all-time in nationally-televised games.
... drop Grobe’s record at Wake Forest 23-29 in five seasons and his all-time record to 56-62-1 in 11 seasons.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 12-15 in home games.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 10-24 in all ACC games.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 6-9 in October games.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 14-20 in afternoon games.
... drop Wake Forest’s all-time record to 379-578-33.
... drop Wake Forest’s all-time ACC record to 98-253-5.

Deacon Express
Wake Forest is the only school in the country with two rushers averaging 100 yards per game. Sophomore Micah Andrews and senior Chris Barclay entered last weekend as the nation’s top rushing duo, piling up more than 288 yards per game.
Combining for just 109 yards against Maryland on 26 carries, Andrews (6-for-23) and Chris Barclay (20-for-86), rushed for 179 yards
less than their season average. They now rank second to Minnesota’s backfield combination of Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell.

Ground To A Halt
The Wake Forest rushing attack, which ranked first in the ACC and eighth nationally, was limited to just 111 yards against Maryland. The
Deacons were averaging 270.3 yards per game. The 111 yards also marked the second fewest yards rushed under Grobe. The Deacons managed just 56 yards against Purdue in 2003. Curiously, the 2005 Deacons have posted some of the best rushing performances in recent years, but also some the least productive.
The 407 yards against East Carolina were the best under Grobe and the 274 yards vs. Vanderbilt were the sixth-most in since 2001.
The 111 rushing yards against Maryland and 130 yards against Nebraska were the secondand third-fewest under Grobe.

Bottled Up
Ryan Plackemeier and the Deacon punt coverage team have been nothing short of excellent. Wake Forest has allowed just 12 yards on 10 punt returns this season. The 1.2 average ranks third nationally behind California (six yards on seven returns in four games) and Texas Tech (one yard on one return in three games). That has helped the Deacons to an ACC best 40.1 net punting average -- a mark that ranks eighth nationally.

Putting It On The Ground
One uncharacteristic tendency possessed by the Deacons is their propensity to fumble the ball. Through four games, Wake Forest has put the ball on the ground 10 times, and lost four. The Deacons are on pace to fumble the ball 27 times, which would be the most in the Grobe era. Wake Forest fumbled 21 times in 2002 and lost 10.
Two fumbles have been returned for scores, two came on kickoffs, one came on a punt and one was on the five yardline going in for a score.

Key Individuals On Offense
QB Benjamin Mauk R-So. His 18 comp. vs. MD tied for second-most by QB (Grobe era)
TB Chris Barclay Sr. Is 65 yards away from taking 2nd place on career rushing chart
TB Micah Andrews R-So. Leads the ACC in rushing at 120.8 yards per game
FB Richard Belton R-Fr. Short yardage threat; scored TDs vs. Vanderbilt, ECU
WR Nate Morton R-Jr. Has a team-high 203 yards; averaging four catches per game
WR Chris Davis Sr. Leads the ACC with 19 receptions, only a total of 112 yards
WR Cory Randolph R-Sr. Former starting QB made first career start at WR vs. ECU
TE John Tereshinski R-So. Grandfather, father and brother all played at Georgia
LT Wesley Bryant R-Sr. One of just three senior starters on offense
LG Arby Jones R-Jr. Has started 12 straight games dating back to 2004
C Steve Justice R-So. Has played every single snap of the first four games
RG Matthew Brim R-So. Former starting tackle may rotate outside due to Frazier’s injury
RT Steve Vallos R-Jr. Lombardi Trophy candidate started all 27 career games
OG Greg Adkins R-Sr. Versatile veteran can play guard or center
OG Chris DeGeare Fr. Only true freshman to see action for Deacons this season
PK Sam Swank R-Fr. 3-for-3 this year from beyond 40 yards with a 51-yard long

Key Individuals On Defense
DE Jeremy Thompson So. Made three tackles last week against Maryland
DE Matt Robinson R-So. Leads all defensive linemen with 12 tackles, 3 TFL
DT Goryal Scales R-Sr. “BG” has 20 career starts, the most of any defender
DT Jyles Tucker R-Jr. He and Zach Stukes have each started two games at DT
DT Zach Stukes R-So. Is battling for a starting position with Jyles Tucker
MLB Jon Abbate R-So. 9 stops vs. Tigers in ‘04 to be ACC’s Rookie of the Week
OLB Aaron Curry R-Fr. Settling into a starting role; tied for team lead with 3 TFL
OLB Pierre Easley R-Jr. Returned from injury and immediately earned starting job
OLB Stanley Arnoux R-Fr. His 14 tackles tied for the most among linebackers
OLB Jason Pratt R-Sr. Team’s fifth-leading tackler with 14 stops
CB Alphonso Smith R-Fr. First career INT vs. MD; tied for ACC lead with 6 PDs
CB Kevin Patterson R-Fr. Part of a strong starting rookie cornerback tandem
CB Riley Swanson R-Jr. The team’s third cornerback had four tackles vs. ECU
FS Josh Gattis R-Jr. Leads Wake Forest with 26 tackles and two interceptions
SS Patrick Ghee R-Jr. Posted a team season-high 10 tackles against Maryland
P Ryan Plackemeier Sr. Ray Guy candidate has 12 60-yard punts in his career

You Can Put It On The Board.. YES!
One of the many rookies making a positive impact for Wake Forest is redshirt freshman placekicker Sam Swank.
Swank is 7-of-9 on field goals and has been at his best from long range with time ticking out. Swank has hit 3-of-3 from beyond 40 yards and has nailed two long field goals on the final play of the first half. He drilled a 42-yarder in that situation against Maryland.
At Nebraska, his second career game, Swank made a 51-yarder, tying for the third-longest in Wake Forest history.
On kickoffs, Swank has also been a factor. Six have gone for touchbacks and opponents have, on average, started their drive at the 25 yardline.

The Ironmen
Wake Forest has had 313 offensive snaps through four games. Sophomore center Steve Justice and junior tackle Steve Vallos have been on the field for all 313.
The Deacons rotate linemen both guard spots and at left tackle, but offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke has leaned on Justice and Vallos to play each snap so far in 2005.

Where Are You Going?
The Deacons had allowed five non-offensive touchdowns in the last four seasons and only one by opposing defenses. In just four games in 2005,
Deacon opponents have scored four touchdowns -- all on defense.
2005: NU (interception, fumble, interception), MD (fumble).
2004: CU (punt return), UM (punt block).
2003: FSU (punt return).
2002: NIU (kickoff return).
2001: DU (interception).

It’s Better To Receive Than Give
Traditionally under Jim Grobe, the Deacons have had a offense that takes care of the football and causes turnovers on defense.
Wake Forest led the nation in turnover margin in 2002. In 2003 and 2004, the Deacons ranked second and third in the ACC in the category. Wake Forest committed only 13 turnovers all of last season and earned 20 takeaways.
The 2005 season has been a different story.
Having committed eight giveaways (four interceptions, four fumbles) and gained only four takeaways (three interceptions, one fumble), the Deacons own a minus-4 in turnover margin. That mark ranks 10th in the ACC, 96th nationally.

Current Deacons vs. The Tigers
* Chris Barclay rushed for 179 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown in last year’s meeting and was named ACC Player of the Week. He has 67 career attempts for 431 yards and three touchdowns against the Tigers. He has three receptions for 31 yards.
* Benjamin Mauk went 3-for-4 passing last year against Clemson for 101 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown strike to Jason Anderson on his first career play. It tied for the longest touchdown pass in Wake Forest history.
* Cory Randolph is 13 for 29 passing in his career against Clemson for 140 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He has 25 carrer rushing attempts for 102 yards and touchdown vs. the Tigers.
* Chris Davis has one career reception for 13 yards.
* Willie Idlette has four career receptions for 45 yards against Clemson. He has seven career rushes for 49 yards.
* Ryan Plackemeier has six punts in his career against Clemson for an average of 46.5 yards per kick.
* Jon Abbate made nine tackles in his Deacon debut last year and was named ACC Rookie of the Week.
* Bryan Andrews has five career tackles and one sack against the Tigers.
* Pierre Easley made four tackles against Clemson last season in his first career start.
* Josh Gattis made his first career interception in the Clemson game last year and has eight career tackles.
* Patrick Ghee has five career stops, plus a pass break-up and a fumble recovery against the Tigers.
* Goryal Scales has six career tackles, including one for loss, vs. Clemson.
* Riley Swanson has eight career tackles against Clemson.
* Jeremy Thompson made three tackles in his career debut last season, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
* Jyles Tucker scored a touchdown in the 2003 meeting when he stripped Charlie Whitehurst and went the other way for a score. He also has seven career tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss against the Tigers.

Wake Forest-Clemson Connections
* Wake Forest has six players from the Palmetto State including Trey Bailey (Duncan), De’Angelo Bryant (New Ellenton), Alonzo Chisolm (Irmo), Anthony Davis (Columbia), David Hobson (Greenwood) and Channing Schofield (Wagener).
* Clemson has two players – C.J. Gaddis (Raeford) and Antwon Murchison (Aberdeen) – from North Carolina.
* Wake Forest’s David Hobson and Clemson’s Jad Dean both graduated from Greenwood (SC) High School.
* Deacon running back Micah Andrews and Tiger punter Cole Chason both played on the prep level at Greater Atlanta Christian School.
* Wake’s Anthony Davis and Clemson’s Steven Jackson are both Spring Valley (SC) High School grads.
* Deacon linebacker Pierre Easley and Tiger tackle Tim DeBeer are both alumni of Marist HS in Atlanta.
* Deacon assistant Brad Lambert and Tiger assistant Vic Koenning both played at Kansas State.
* Wake Forest assistant Billy Mitchell and Clemson assistant David Blackwell both played at East Carolina.
* Demon Deacon volleyball coach Heather Kahl is a Clemson graduate.
* Former Deacon lineman Tyson Clabo and former Tiger John Leake are teammates with the Atlanta Falcons.
* Former Wake Forest standout Ricky Proehl and former Tigers Brentson Buckner, Khaleed Vaughn and Rod Gardner are all playing for the Carolina Panthers.

When & Where:
At 3:30 PM on October 1 at Groves Stadium
(31,500) in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Television:
ESPNU (national). Dave Armstrong (play-byplay) and Mike Tomczak (analysis) call the action. Brian Zwolinski is the producer.
Radio:
Wake Forest/ISP Radio Network and XM Radio. Stan Cotten (play-by-play) and Bill Urbanik (analysis) call the action.
Series:
Clemson leads, 54-15-1. The Tigers have won three of the four meetings since 2001, including last year’s 37-30 double overtime contest in Death Valley. The Deacons won 45-17 in the last Winston-Salem meeting.
Rankings:
Neither team is ranked, but Clemson is receiving votes in both polls.
Coaches:
Jim Grobe is in his fifth season at Wake Forest with a 23-28 record. Clemson coach
Tommy Bowden is in his seventh year with the Tigers. He owns a record of 46-31.
Schedule & Results:
S1 Vanderbilt ESPNU L, 20-24
S10 at Nebraska TBS L, 3-31
S17 East Carolina W, 44-34
S24 Maryland ESPNU L, 12-22
O1 Clemson ESPNU 3:30
O8 at Florida State TBA
O15 at Boston College TBA
O22 NC State TBA
O29 at Duke TBA
N5 at Georgia Tech TBA
N17 Miami ESPN 7:30

 
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Wake Forest welcomes Clemson to Groves Stadium
WFU senior Cory Randolph will be the starting QB against Clemson.photo by Gene Galin
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