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Wake Forest meets Nebraska for the first time since 1970

Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005

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In Week Two, the Demon Deacons return to Lincoln, Neb., for the first time in 35 years to play the Cornhuskers. Wake Forest and Nebraska last met in 1970, the year the Deacons captured an ACC championship and the Huskers won the national championship.

In its season opener, a 24-20 loss to Vanderbilt last Thursday, Wake Forest seemed to read from an all-too-familiar script. Last year, the Deacons lost six games by a touchdown or less. It was the first loss in a home opener in Grobe’s five years in Winston-Salem. Remarkably enough, 27 of Grobe’s 48 games at Wake Forest have been decided by seven points or less.

In the season opener, the Deacons played without two-time All-ACC running back Chris Barclay and junior Riley Swanson, the team’s most experienced cornerback, due to a violation of team policy. In Barclay’s place, sophomore Micah Andrews piled up 254 yards on the ground. Redshirt freshmen Kevin Patterson and Alphonso Smith were tested and combined for four pass break-ups.

Swanson returns this week to bolster the team’s depth in the secondary. Barclay and Andrews create a formidable 1-2 punch at running back.

Nebraska is 1-0 after a 25-7 season opening victory against visiting Maine last Saturday. The Huskers sacked the quarterback 11 times and held the Black Bears to minus-six yards rushing.

The 1970 meeting between the schools, a 36-12 Nebraska victory, is the only meeting in series history. The Huskers will return to the trip to Groves Stadium in 2007.

Andrews Named ACC Offensive Back of the Week
Micah Andrews’ 254 rushing yards against Vanderbilt goes into the Wake Forest record books as the second-best single day performance by a running back in school history. The 254 yards came on 34 carries, an impressive average of 7.5 per attempt.

For Andrews, a sophomore, it was only his second career start and it came in place of two-time All-ACC selection Chris Barclay, who missed the Vanderbilt because of a violation of team rules.

Barclay was the last Wake Forest rusher to go over 200 yards (243 vs. Maryland in 2003). Andrews, the son of former Atlanta Falcon All-Pro William Andrews, became the eighth player to rush for 200 yards in a Deacon uniform and it was the 10th time in happened in school history. Andrew’s previous career best was a 17-carry, 125-yard, three touchdown game against North Carolina A&T last September.

Barclay Named To Doak Walker Award List
For the second straight year, Wake Forest senior running back Chris Barclay has been selected as a candidate for the Doak Walker Award. The SMU Athletic Forum announced the 2005 preseason list last week. The Doak Walker Award is annually presented to the best running back in college football. Barclay, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back from Louisville, Ky., has rushed for 1,000 yards and led the ACC in rushing during the regular season each of the last two years. He is a two-time All-ACC pick and the only player in WFU history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in consecutive years.

Barclay played in all 11 games last year for the Demon Deacons. He led the ACC with 243 attempts and finished with 1,010 yards. His season-high came in the season opener at Clemson, a 179-yard rushing performance that led to ACC Offensive Back of the Week honors.

Barclay stands 907 yards away from breaking Wake Forest’s career rushing mark, currently held by James McDougald. He has already tied the school’s career rushing touchdown record.

From The Training Room
The injury report for Saturday’s game:
Out: OG Brodie Overstreet (eye). Doubtful: None. Questionable: LB Jon Abbate (hamstring), LB Pierre Easley (groin), CB Johnny Edwards (ankle), WR Willie Idlette (shoulder). Probable: None.

A Win This Week Would...
... give Wake Forest a 1-1 start for the second
straight year and the third time in four years.
... make Wake Forest 6-1 in non-conference
games away from Groves Stadium under Jim Grobe.
... even the all-time series against Nebraska
at 1-1.
... break a three-game road losing streak.
... mark Wake Forest’s second win on national
television in as many seasons.
... improve Wake Forest’s all-time record on
national television to 7-12.
... be Wake Forest’s first win against a Big 12
squad since 1976 at Kansas State, a 13-0 win.
... make Wake Forest 2-11 all-time against
schools currently in the Big 12.
... be the largest crowd to ever witness a
Wake Forest victory. The Deacons are 0-11 all-time
in front of crowds of more than 73,000.
... improve Grobe’s record at Wake Forest 23-
26 in five seasons and his all-time record to 56-
59-1 in 11 seasons.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 11-
13 in road games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 13-
4 in non-conference games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 10-
8 in September games.
... improve Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 9-8
in night games.
... improve Wake Forest’s all-time record to
379-575-33.
A Loss This Week Would...
... give Wake Forest an 0-2 start for the first
time since the 2000 season.
... make Wake Forest 5-2 in non-conference
games away from Groves Stadium under Jim Grobe.
... give Nebraska a 2-0 lead in the all-time
series.
... make four straight road losses.
... drop Wake Forest’s all-time record on
national television to 6-13.
... make Wake Forest 1-12 all-time against
schools currently in the Big 12.
... drop Grobe’s record at Wake Forest 22-27
in five seasons and his all-time record to 55-60-1
in 11 seasons.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 10-14
in road games.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 12-5 in
non-conference games.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 9-9 in
September games.
... drop Grobe’s Wake Forest record to 8-9 in
night games.
... drop Wake Forest’s all-time record to 378-
576-33.

Deacons Experience Road Success
Wake Forest owns a 5-1 record against non-conference opponents away from Groves Stadium since 2001. The Deacons have posted impressive wins including triumphs over Boston College (32-28 in 2003 while still a member of the Big East), Oregon (38-17 in the 2002 Seattle Bowl), Purdue (24-21 in 2002) and twice against East Carolina (31-17 in 2004 and 21-19 in 2001).

The Deacons have won four in a row and their only blemish came in 2002 at Northern Illinois, a 42-41 overtime loss.

Grobe: Best First Four Years
With 22 victories at Wake Forest, Jim Grobe has more wins in his first four years than any other coach in Wake Forest history.

Not Al Groh (17), not Bill Dooley (18) and not even the legendary D.C. “Peahead” Walker (21) had this much success this early in their tenure.

Grobe, the program’s 32nd coach, already ranks fifth all-time in career wins.

The Deacons have a chance to propel Grobe even higher up that chart. He stands four wins behind Jim Caldwell and Groh. Grobe needs seven wins to catch Bill Dooley.

Mauk Sets New Career-Highs
Getting his fourth career start, sophomore Benjamin Mauk established new career-highs against Vanderbilt for completions (15) and passing yards (198). He finished 15-for-26 passing. His previous high for yards passing was 127 vs. Duke last season. Mauk spread the ball around and hit six different receivers.
More On Mauk
Redshirt sophomore Benjamin Mauk, who set national passing records at Kenton High School in Ohio, has been named the starting quarterback. Mauk came to Wake Forest with a lot of notoriety. In high school, he operated in a no-back, five-wide, no-huddle offense. He totaled 6,540 passing yards and 76 TDs his senior season, en route to a second state championship and Mr. Football in Ohio honors.

Last year, Mauk rotated with the veteran Cory Randolph, who has 20 career starts under his belt. A toe injury sidelined Randolph against Duke last October and Mauk led the Deacons to victory that day and started the season’s final three games. In part-time duty, Mauk completed 52.1 percent of his passes for 572 yards, two TDs and three interceptions. His 295 rushing yards ranked second on the team. But his fearless, hard-nosed style endeared himself to Wake Forest teammates, coaches and fans. Mauk bowled over a would-be tackler against Duke last season. After the game, he told reporters that “if I wanted to slide I'd play baseball. Football is all about hitting.”

First Time For Everything
Five players made their first career starts against Vanderbilt, including three redshirt freshmen. The first time starters were Richard Belton (R-Fr., FB), Alphonso Smith (R-Fr., CB), Kevin Patterson (R-Fr., CB), Aaron Mason (R-So., SS) and Jason Pratt (RSr., LB). Chris Barclay and Josh Gattis saw their 11-game consecutive start streaks snapped. Punter Ryan Plackemeier (31), offensive tackle Steve Vallos (24) and safety Patrick Ghee (12) now own the longest such streaks.

Mistakes Doom Deacs vs. Vandy
Jim Grobe said leading up to the Vanderbilt game that the biggest key would be to limit “typical first game mistakes” like turnovers and penalties. Despite outgaining Vanderbilt, having more time of possession and getting a spectacular performance from Micah Andrews and the rushing offense, the Deacons could not pull out a victory.

Wake Forest drew seven flags for 65 yards while Vandy committed just two penalties for five yards. The Deacons also failed to score in two of its six chances in the red zone. Wake Forest fumbled on the five and missed a field goal of 39 yards. On the opening drive, the Deacons committed a holding penalty that forced a field goal instead of a possible touchdown.

Quotebook
Jim Grobe on the team’s inexperience --
“It doesn't take Kojak to figure out when you have two seniors starting that you don't have a strong senior class. As far as old grizzly vets, we don't have many of those guys on the field. We're talented. We just tend to play pretty good for eight or nine plays, then hyperventilate on one.”
Jim Grobe on the team’s level of talent --
“We've had some very good individual players on our football team since we've been here. But this team has the most talent and depth that we've had since this coaching staff arrived.''
Jim Grobe on raising the bar --
“It's funny how expectations change. I think people appreciate what we've done. But now that we've become competitive, I think their attitude is the same attitude the players and coaches have. It's time to start winning our share.''
Jim Grobe on Richard Belton --
“I think he is a guy who has the potential to do more than any fullback we've ever had. Ovie (Mughelli) would vaporize you, and Nick Burney could run the ball really well, but I think he's the first combination of a guy who can run and block.”
Jim Grobe on the program’s direction --
“Mickey the Dunce could figure out this thing is going the right way when you watch these kids out here right now. I think the future is very bright, but we really want the future to be right now.”
Steve Vallos on Benjamin Mauk --
“He brings an element of emotion. He's not scared of anything, not scared of getting hurt. He doesn't run out of bounds. He tries to run people over.”
Mauk on being coached by his dad --
“We'd go out to lunch after church and after we finished eating, my dad would draw plays on the napkins.”

In The Last Meeting
September 12, 1970
Nebraska 17, Wake Forest 10
Memorial Stadium (66,103)
LINCOLN, Neb. - Wake Forest lost four costly fumbles as the ninth-ranked Cornhuskers rolled past the Demon Deacons 36-12. The game served as the season opener for both teams.

Wake Forest would begin its season 0-3, with each loss coming on the road. However, the Deacons would turn it around in time to finish 6-5 overall, 5-1 in the ACC, to capture its first and only conference championship.

Coach Bob Devaney and sophomore Johnny Rodgers would eventually lead that Nebraska team to an 11-0-1 record and the program’s first national championship.

The lone blemish that season was a 21-21 tie at USC in the second week. In this game, the Deacons actually jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. After trading punts, the Deacons forced a Nebraska fumble by Kinney, recovered by Frank Fussell on the first play of the next drive.

Four plays later, Tracy Lounsbury split the uprights from 35 yards away to give Wake Forest a field goal lead midway through the first quarter. But Nebraska responded with two touchdowns before the end of the first quarter, the second of which was setup by a fumbled kickoff return.

The Deacons cut the lead to 14-5 early in the second quarter when Pat McHenry blocked a Husker punt out of the endzone.

But Wake Forest would get no closer as junior quarterback Jerry Tagge rushed for one touchdown and pass to Rodgers for another before the teams.

The teams went to locker room with Nebraska leading 29-5. The Huskers added to their lead in the third quarter with a Joe Orduna
scoring run. Wake Forest back-up quarterback Jim McMahen found Gary Johnson on a 12-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to go to cap the scoring.

The Deacon rushing attack, spearheaded all season by quarterback Larry Russell, was slowed to a crawl for much of the day. Nebraska pinned Russell to minus-three yards on 18 carries.

Wake Forest-Nebraska Connections
* Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor began his career at Wake Forest, where he redshirted in 2002 and served as a back-up in 2003. He played in three games and completed the only pass he attempted. He transferred to Bulter County (KS) Community College for the 2004 season.
* Taylor and Wake Forest tight end Zac Selmon both played at the same high school – Norman HS in Norman, OK.
* Wake Forest has one player – Lincoln’s Boomer Peterson – from the state of Nebraska. Peterson attended Lincoln Southeast High School.
* Nebraska senior Shamus McKoy hails from Raleigh, NC, and is the only North Carolinian on the ‘Husker roster.
* Deacon assistant coach Brad Lambert was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma in 1989 when current Nebraska assistant coach John Blake was also working on the Sooners staff.
* Cornhusker assistant Phil Elmassian served in the ACC three seasons as an assistant at Virginia from 1987-90.
* Nebraska running backs coach Randy Jordan was born in Manson (NC), attended North Carolina and coached for the Tar Heels from 1989-92.
* Former Deacon Eric King and former Cornhusker Chris Kelsay are currently teammates with the Buffalo Bills. * Former Wake standout Joe Zelenka and recent NU standout Bernard Thomas both play for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
* Former Deacon receiver John Stone now plays with the Oakland Raiders along with Nebraska grads Jay Foreman, Adam Treu and Fabian Washington.
* NFL veteran tackle Fred Robbins of Wake Forest and T.J. Hollowell of Nebraska are teammates with the New York Giants.
* Wake Forest’s Desmond Clark and Dustin Lyman and Nebraska’s Mike Brown and Jerrell Pippens all play for the Chicago Bears.
* The Carolina Panthers’ roster includes former Deac Ricky Proehl and former ‘Huskers Mike Minter and Mike Rucker.
* Former Deacon standout Calvin Pace is a teammate of former Cornhuskers Aaron Golliday and Eric Johnson with the Arizona Cardinals.

When & Where:
At 6:00 PM central time on September 10 at Memorial Stadium (73,918) in Lincoln, Neb.

Television:
TBS. Ron Thulin (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analysis) and Craig Sager (sidelines) call the action. Scott Cockerill is the producer.

Radio:
Wake Forest/ISP Radio Network. Stan Cotten (play-by-play) and Bill Urbanik (analysis) call the action.

Series:
Nebraska leads, 1-0. The teams haven’t met since the 1970 season when Wake Forest won the ACC Championship and Nebraska won the national championship.

Rankings:
Neither team is ranked.

Coaches:
Jim Grobe is in his fifth season at Wake Forest with a 22-26 record. Nebraska coach Bill Callahan is in his second year with the Cornhuskers. He owns a record of 6-6.

Schedule & Results:
S1 Vanderbilt ESPNU L, 20-24
S10 at Nebraska TBS 6:00 (c)
S17 East Carolina 6:30
S24 Maryland TBA
O1 Clemson TBA
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 meets Nebraska for the first time since 1970
Sophomore Ben Mauk established new career-highs against Vanderbilt for completions (15) and passing yards (198).
photo by Gene Galin
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