Mitch Griffis has some very, very big shoes to fill in the time that Sam Hartman is out of football. That said, if tonight was any indication, he might be able to hold down the fort after all. Wake Forest absolutely rolled over VMI, overcoming some slight jitters and sloppiness (honestly to be expected in a season opener) to absolutely destroy VMI. I’m going to just go over a few important points, because honestly, how much is there to say about a 44-10 game?
- Mitch Griffis, as said, had a hell of a game. The redshirt freshman went 21-29 for 288 yards, 3 TDs, and no picks. He had a large number of rather difficult throws on paper that were absolute dimes. By my count, he hit 7 different receivers as well, which is icing on the cake.
- The Wake Forest ground game was, if anything, even more impressive. Christian Turner had 13 carries for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns, an average of 7.7 YPC (with a long of 35 yards) and 2 touchdowns. Justice Ellison also carried 13 times, but for 80 yards and no TDs but a long of 45 yards.
- The defense gave up some yardage, but sheesh, they absolutely did not break. VMI put up 10 points, but on 3rd down, they were a woeful 4-18. Also want to give a special shout out to Dylan Hazen, who had several absolute monster tackles from the linebacker position, which has been a huge issue for Wake Forest in recent years. And even then, to say VMI put up yards is accurate, but 222 yards total for an entire game, with 34 of those yards coming on one play, which also happened to be the touchdown? Yeah I’ll take that. 3.9 YPA though the air and 2.6 YPC on the ground for VMI. That’s a pretty darn good showing by the Wake Forest defense.
- The biggest issue on the night for the Deacs was probably penalties. 7 penalties for 69 yards. Not great, especially considering one of said penalties negated a touchdown.
It wasn’t flawless, and obviously the level of competition needs to be taken into account, but Griffis undoubtedly showed why he was given the QB1 call after Sam went down, and it’s also clear that this team is full to the brim with talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I think there are a LOT of programs around the country that would love to have A.T. Perry, Taylor Morin, and Donovon Greene as a top three wideouts, and that’s just the beginning. If the defense can continue to coalesce under Brad Lambert’s watch (a pretty safe bet), then this team might have another very good year indeed.
Onto the next. Go Deacs.