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Wake Forest Opponent Recap: Week 1

How did the teams on the schedule fare in week 1?

NCAA Football: Elon at Vanderbilt George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

The Deacs moved to 1-0 this week after taking down the VMI Keydets, but how did the rest of the Wake’s future opponents fare in the opening week of college football? Let’s take a look at which teams on the schedule may be stronger than predicted and which teams might be slightly overrated.

Opponent Combined Record in Week 1: 8-3

Opponent Combined Overall Record: 11-3


Vanderbilt 42—Elon 31

I noticed a lot of fans started worrying about this game in week 0 when Vanderbilt absolutely smacked Hawaii 62-10, but it turns out that might be more of an indictment against the Rainbow Warriors. The Commodores returned home to take on the Elon Pheonix this week and had a bit of trouble, allowing Elon to outgain them 495 to 424 and average over 6 yards per carry. If an FCS team almost hit 500 yards on the Vandy defense, the Deacs should be able to go for at least 600. Quarterback Mike Wright could be an issue for the Wake Forest defense, as the junior has already accounted for 10 touchdowns over 2 games (though they were against Hawaii and Elon).

Liberty 29—Southern Miss 27 (4 OT)

Liberty came away with a road win against Southern Miss in a 4 OT thriller where both teams missed field goals in the 1st overtime, made field goals in the 2nd OT, and then went to the newer 2pt conversion shootout until eventually the Golden Eagles came up a yard short to lose the game. The biggest news from this game is that Liberty’s starting QB Charlie Brewer broke his hand and is expected to miss between 6 and 8 weeks, which means he won’t be playing against the Deacs in week 3. The Flames first turned to Jonathan Bennett, but after throwing 2 picks, he was replaced by Kaidon Salter. Salter was a 4-star recruit who transferred from Tennessee in 2021.

Clemson 41—Georgia Tech 10

The Tigers ended up winning by 31, but it wasn’t exactly the most convincing blowout. With about 9 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Yellow Jackets scored a touchdown to cut the lead to just 4 points, 14-10. Clemson then remembered how to play football and rattled off 27 unanswered points. DJ Uiagalelei kind of continued his struggles from last year, which has many fans and talking heads on the internet wondering if backup Cade Klubnik will be taking the starting job before the year is over.

Florida State 24—LSU 23

The Noles look pretty good. Jordan Travis appears to have taken the next step at QB, completing 63% of his passes for 260 and 2 touchdowns against the Tigers. I’m not really sure if LSU is supposed to be any good this season, but to go into Louisiana and beat LSU even at a neutral site is pretty impressive. Of course, the Tigers shot themselves in the foot multiple times on special teams with 2 muffed punts and 2 blocked kicks and the Noles did let LSU march 99 yards in about a minute at the end of the game after a questionable play call at the goal line resulted in a fumble. Florida State could be back, or LSU could just not be that good this year—hard to say after just 1 game.

Army 28—Coastal Carolina 38

This one was kind of a weird game for Army in that they were out rushed by the Chanticleers and lost the time of possession battle. The Black Knights only rushed for 202 yards in this game and 70 of them came on a Tyrell Robinson touchdown run in the 1st quarter. I’m not really sure how good Coastal’s defense is supposed to be this season, but it seems like they did a pretty good job of slowing down Army’s triple option attack.

Boston College 21—Rutgers 22

I have no idea what happened in this game, but the Eagles only managed 312 total yards and Phil Jurkovec looked awful—he finished the game completing 56% of his passes for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. The BC ground game was somehow worse, running the ball 28 times for a whopping 29 yards. The only bright spot on the team was Zay Flowers, who caught 10 passes for 117 yards and 2 TDs. This was a pretty bad loss for Boston College, especially since they were at home and Rutgers was missing 3 of their best players.

Louisville 7—Syracuse 31

The Deacs will play both of these teams this season, and Syracuse definitely looked like the team we should be more worried about. What was supposed to be a pretty high-powered Cardinals offense only managed 334 total yards and found the endzone just 1 time. Quarterback Malik Cunningham did not look very good with 2 picks and only 34 yards rushing. Syracuse, on the other hand, looked like a team that could make a little noise in the Atlantic Division. Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker were always great on the ground, but now it appears that duo is also going to be a big threat in the passing game. Tucker caught 6 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown while Shrader completed 72% of his passes for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tucker did leave the game with an injury, but he returned later, and it looks like he is going to be ok.

NC State 21—ECU 20

The Wolfpack were incredibly lucky to win this game. The ECU kicker first missed an extra point to tie the game and then missed a field goal to win with a few seconds remaining. The Pack managed just 344 total yards and were 4-13 on 3rd down, while also failing to score from inside the 2-yard line TWICE. Leary did not look like one of the best QB’s in the nation with a 52% completion rate and a 36.8 QBR, but it was just the first game of the season. Was the offseason hype misplaced, or did NC State just have a bad first game? We will find out soon.

UNC 63—App State 61

UNC was also pretty lucky to come away with a win on the road against App State. The Tar Heels somehow managed to give up 40 4th quarter points—you read that correctly, 40—to blow a 20-point lead and come a few feet away from their first loss of the season. After scoring a touchdown with 30 seconds remaining, App went for 2 to try and take the lead. The Mountaineers had a great play call and a wide-open running back in the endzone for an easy 2 points—he tripped and failed to catch the ball, which you would think would be the end of the game. The Heels then recovered the onside kick and for some reason decided to run it back for a touchdown, literally the only thing they could do in that situation to give App a chance. App followed up with a 2 play, 10 second drive that resulted in a touchdown and a chance to tie the game with a 2-point conversion. App missed the 2-point conversion again, giving UNC the win. The takeaways for me in this game are that the UNC defense appears to be just as bad as it was last year, and Drake Maye might be the guy at QB.

Duke 30—Temple 0

Duke looked pretty solid against the Owls, though Temple’s over/under on wins this season was 2.5, so I don’t think they are expecting to be any good. That being said, Duke racked up 500 yards of total offense and held the Owls to just 179 yards. A shut out in the first game is a pretty solid way for Mike Elko to start his tenure on the Blue Devils’ head coach. Duke plays at Northwestern next week so we will see how the defense holds up against a P5 opponent.

Vanderbilt is up next. Go Deacs!