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Wake Forest vs. Elon Preview

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Will the Phoenix pull the upset of the season? Well uh... probably not, but let's talk about it.

Elon v Wake Forest Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Game Date: September 21st

Opponent: Elon

Conference: CAA (FCS)

Head Coach: Tony Trisciani (1st season)

2018-19 record: 6-5, 4-3 CAA, lost in first round of FCS Playoffs to Wofford, 19-7

Highest Ranking: #5 FCS Coaches Poll

Playoff Berth: See Above

Wins: Furman, @Charleston Southern, New Hampshire, @James Madison, Richmond, Rhode Island

Losses: @South Florida, @Delaware, Towson, @Maine, @Wofford, game against William and Mary cancelled via hurricane

So the biggest thing statistically that jumps out is that in 2018, Elon had a really explosive offense, but also a porous defense. They put up an average of 24.3 PPG, and gave up an average of 23.6 PPG. Their offense was also balanced, with an average of 199.5 YPG on the ground and 173.9 through the air. Defensively, they gave up 165.7 YPG on the ground and 193.36 YPG in the air.

It becomes a little more confusing, then, when you consider that their head coach, who left to coach James Madison, was replaced by the former DC. Admittedly, maybe it was a young defense, or ravaged by injuries, or any number of things. But any team that gives up 359 YPG on defense and 5.3 per play on average, well, has some issues on that side of the ball.

Of course, so did Wake, but if we'd promoted defensive staff to head the program after Coach Clawson left to head a higher profile program, I'd be raising my eyebrows at that, too.

I fully expect Wake Forest to easily win this game, and statistics do too, but I think it'll be an interesting test. In a lot of ways, Elon last season was something of a mirror of Wake Forest, and if the Elon offense is as explosive this season, I think this game could be an interesting test of whether or not the more veteran defensive staff can continue to build on some of the midseason improvements that started to show last season.

What do you guys think? Will this be a romp for Wake (likely, to be honest) or more interesting than it probably should be? Sound off in the comments. Thanks as always for reading, and Go Deacs.

-SF