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Wake Forest - Tulane GAMEDAY - 10 Things to Watch

Just hours before kickoff, Demon Deacon Digest presents you with 10 things to watch in tonight's Wake Forest vs. Tulane matchup at BB&T Field.

With Wake Forest kicking off the football season just hours from now against the Tulane Green Wave, here’s 10 things we’ll be looking for at BB&T Field.

  1. Will the weather hold out? The latest hour-by-hour forecast shows essentially a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms during the game tonight. Though BB&T handles rain well, one has to wonder if a sloppy field favors a more running-based team, like Tulane is assumed to become versus a the more balanced offensive approach of the Deacs. 
  2. The Wake Forest offensive line. Though the Deacs are generally favored by more than a couple touchdowns, this is not cupcake city. Tulane will give Wake a challenge, especially with its front seven. Green Wave defensive tackle Tanzel Smart is a legit NFL top-round prospect, and defensive end Ade Aruna can get pressure off the edge. This will be a great test for the Wake offensive line. If they can hold Tulane at bay tonight, there's hope as the season moves forward. 
  3. How will Kendall Hinton be used? There's a lot of creative things the Deacs could do with Hinton this season, but the question is will we see anything unique tonight? I don't expect Hinton's reps to be obligatory in nature. He's a major part of the Wake Forest offense, and their most potent game breaker. 
  4. How will the true freshman perform? Running back Cade Carney and punter Dom Maggio are almost for sure starting, and Essang Bassey will either start or get plenty of playing time at cornerback. 
  5. Will Duke Ejiofor start at defensive end? The Deacs most potent edge rusher has missed a lot of camp time, but was starting to get back into action as game day grew closer. Both Paris Black and Chris Calhoun played well in his absence, but don't provide the consistency of the proven redshirt junior. 
  6. Who makes a play at WR? With a young and talented group at least six deep, who stands out tonight at wide receiver? It's been a different guy nearly every day in camp, so expect one of these six to make your jaw drop at least once tonight: Tabari Hines, Chucky Wade, Cortez Lewis, Scotty Washington, Alex Bachman and Steven Claude. 
  7. How will Jessie Bates impact the game? The redshirt freshman had a great spring camp and followed it up well in the fall. He's proven to be reliable and disruptive in the secondary and explosive on special teams. Coach Clawson loves his ability to track balls in the punt return game, and he has great speed. 
  8. Which quarterback moves the offense better? While junior John Wolford is getting the start and Kendall Hinton will play, it's not certain that will be the season-long split of duties. The competition is still on-going for all intents and purposes. Pay close attention to which quarterback moves the team down the field more consistently tonight. 
  9. Ryan Janvion. He's a three-year team captain and received votes for the All-ACC Preseason team, but the senior safety has yet to grab an interception. Against a run-heavy Tulane squad tonight, that's unlikely to change, but at some point this season Janvion is going to break the seal. 
  10. Turnovers. Wake was -13 in turnover margin last season, and didn't force a fumble or grab an interception until Oct. 10 last season in the sixth game of the season, at Boston College. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko has the team focused on changing that narrative this season. Facing a team with a new coach, a new offensive scheme and a quarterback with just one collegiate snap under his belt may present the best opportunity of the season to jar the ball loose a few times. 


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