The long wait for Wake Forest Demon Deacons football is finally over, as the Deacs kick off the 2017 season tonight when it welcomes the Presbyterian Blue Hose into Winston-Salem for a 6:30 kickoff.
The game can be seen on ACC Network Extra and WatchESPN.
Everything that you could possibly need to know about how to watch/listen/stream the game tonight can be found in our “How to Watch” article from last night.
Predictions for the game from the BSD staff can be found here as well.
While the weather does not appear to be overly promising, that won’t dampen the first game for most Wake Forest fans. Coming off of its first bowl game since the 2011 Music City Bowl, fourth year head coach Dave Clawson will be looking for another successful season to culminate in another trip to the postseason.
The #Questfor6 begins tonight against FCS opponent Presbyterian. The Blue Hose struggled to a 2-9 record last season in the FCS, allowing 31 points per game while scoring just 9 points per game. In fact, it scored just 98 points the entire season.
This was enough for a coaching change, which brought former head coach Tommy Spangler back to the helm. Spangler coached the Blue Hose from 2001-2006, leading Presbyterian to a 42-24 record in that time span.
He will have his work cut out for him though, since the team scored a whopping 10 touchdowns on offense last season.
This will be the 13th meeting all-time between these two teams and Wake Forest leads the overall series against Presbyterian 7-4-1, and has won the last 7 matchups since 1931. Presbyterian won the first 4/5 matchups from 1926-1930. Its last win against Wake Forest was a 13-0 shutout on November 8th, 1930.
This will be the first matchup since 2013, when Wake Forest defeated Presbyterian 31-7. Presbyterian actually held the Deacs to a three-and-out on the first drive and then Demarcus Rouse ran 66 yards on its first play from scrimmage to the Wake Forest 4 yard line before taking a 7-0 lead. Unfortunately that would be one of only two first downs for the Blue Hose, as the Deacs piled up a 25-2 first down advantage en route to the 3 1/2 touchdown win.
Senior quarterback John Wolford will get the start tonight for the fourth consecutive season for Wake Forest after winning the quarterback battle over RS sophomore Kendall Hinton in fall camp. In doing so, he will become the first ever Wake Forest quarterback to start four consecutive season openers.
It will be interesting to see how that is managed tonight and headed into the Boston College game next Saturday.
Wake Forest will work to improve on its running game, which finished at 101st nationally at 146 yards per contest, but 40 yards per game better than 2015. That will be done through a three-headed monster of Cade Carney, Matt Colburn, and Arkeem Byrd. True freshman Christian Beal could possibly see some time moving forward if there are any injuries or slow starts in that trio, but he appears to be headed towards the redshirt route per Coach Clawson.
Tonight will also mark the debut of three new coaches for the Deacs, as defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel, LB coach Brad Sherrod, and safeties coach Lyle Hemphill will make their debut on the Old Gold and Black coaching staff.
Overall this should be a good warmup game for Wake Forest to get ready for Boston College next weekend. I don’t necessarily want to make any proclamations along the lines of “if Wake doesn’t win by X then it could be a long year”, but this should not be a close game at all.
My hope is that the offense clicks early and gets out to a 2-3 touchdown lead by the mid second quarter so some younger guys can get reps to prepare for the season.
I took Wake 45-10 in the predictions and would like to see at least a 4-5 touchdown win to get some of the kinks worked out.
I am glad the football season is almost officially underway and look forward to another great season covering Wake Forest with Blogger So Dear.