The Wake Forest Demon Deacons started the season on a very positive note. The Deacs raced to a quick lead against the Presbyterian Blue Hose and refused to look back at all. Led by senior John Wolford on his fourth season opening game as a starter (11/15 passing for 107 yards and 4 total TDs), the Deacs offensively tore up Presbyterian via the air and ground. Greg Dortch (4 receptions, 55 yards, 2 TDs) had an impressive debut starting from his first touch as a punt returner (29 yard return) and scoring a touchdown after a Justin Strnad interception.
Defensively, Duke Ejiofor, Justin Strnad, Jessie Bates, Zeek Rodney, and Jaboree Williams impressed. Perhaps the best feel good story of the night was with Zeek Rodney, who took some time away from the team, came back and literally picked up where he left off, a solid impact player in the trenches. Rodney took time away from Wake, witnessed his daughter growing up a little bit, while loading crates of Pepsi to help ma.
After the Deacs built a 30-0 lead halfway through the second quarter, Kendall Hinton got to run the offense. The offense continued to run smoothly with Hinton hitting Greg Dortch for Dortch’s second touchdown in his much anticipated debut.
Hinton (7-8 passing, 124 yards passing, 3 total TDs), trying to prove that the Deacs have not one but two capable starters, started off very quickly, going 6-6 for 109 yards and 2 TDs in his first two drives (technically three but they took a knee for one).
Arkeem Byrd, my pick for breakout player, then took over for the Deacs rushing attack in the third quarter, with the longest play of the game, a beautiful 51-yard run after the Deacs defense forced a turnover on downs deep in their own territory.
The Deacs took care business as expected. Considering that Presbyterian is one of the more offensively challenged programs in the FCS, Wake shouldn’t take too much from this game. However, it was encouraging that the Deacs were able to move the ball at will with multiple quarterbacks and limit the Blue Hose to just a touchdown.