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Wake Forest Finally Comes to Blacksburg
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #454, October 15, 2010
"Firsts" for the Virginia Tech football program in the ACC are slowing down. Seven years since expansion, the Hokies have done just about everything for the first time. This Saturday will be one of their last "firsts", when Wake Forest visits Blacksburg for the first time since expansion.
Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have met just twice since ACC expansion, despite the fact that the two schools are just two hours away from each other. It's a quicker trip to Winston-Salem from Blacksburg than it is to Charlottesville to play in-state rival UVA.
The two previous meetings were both memorable. The first came in 2004, with the Hokies winning 17-10 and picking up their first ever road win in the ACC. Wake Forest never led, though the game was tied until late.
It was tailback Mike Imoh who broke the tie, scoring from seven yards out with 2:10 remaining to give Tech a 17-10 lead. The Tech defense came up with a goal line stand, with Mike Daniels breaking up a fourth down pass in the end zone to preserve the win. The Hokies went on to win the ACC and face Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.
The 2006 game was a great trip for Tech fans. It was a night game, featuring #19 Virginia Tech and #14 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons went on to win the ACC, but they were soundly beaten by the Hokies 27-6 on their own home field in late November.
The Tech defense dominated, holding Wake Forest to just six points, 257 yards of offense, and they also scored a defensive touchdown. The Tech offense lost Branden Ore to an injury early in the game, but Kenny Lewis, Jr. responded by rushing for 74 yards on 17 carries.
The Tech passing game was very effective, with Sean Glennon going 14-of-21 for 252 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He hit Eddie Royal for a 49 yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game, and Josh Morgan for a 53 yard touchdown on the fifth play of the second half.
Though the Hokies didn't make the ACC Championship Game that year, beating Wake Forest late in the season helped ensure another 10-win season, and it was pretty clear Tech was the best team in the league at the end of the season.
This year's game isn't as big as that 2006 contest, nor is it expected to be as close as the 2004 meeting. The Hokies have won four in a row, and scored 41 or more points in their last two games. Meanwhile, Wake Forest has dropped their last four games and will be starting a true freshman quarterback against Virginia Tech.
In two road games this season, Wake Forest has been outscored 99-24. Here's a better look at their road performances this year.
As detailed in Wednesday's game preview, nine of Wake Forest's 22 players on their defensive two-deep are r-freshmen or true freshmen. 12 of the 22 are r-sophomores or younger. This group isn't as physically gifted as the Aaron Curry/Stanly Arnoux/Jeremy Thompson/Alphonso Smith defense, and they also lack a great deal of experience. As a result, they are one of the worst defenses in the country. Out of all the ACC schools, only Duke's defense has been worse.
There are some ties between Wake Forest and the state of Virginia, as well as Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
Ever wonder what happened to former Virginia Tech head coach Bill Dooley after he got the Hokies put on probation? He ended up in Winston-Salem, where he was the head coach at Wake Forest from 1987 through 1992. He had three winning seasons at Wake Forest, and he was the ACC Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1992.
Current Wake head coach Jim Grobe is a UVA grad. He played at Ferrum (about an hour from Virginia Tech) for two years before transferring to UVA. Current Virginia Tech wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman coached under Grobe at Ohio and Wake Forest before accepting the Virginia Tech job.
Other than those connections, there isn't much the two schools have in common.
Stadium Ale Glass
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