Deacs Host East Carolina

Wake Forest hosts in-state rival Pirates in third straight home game.


Game #4

Sept. 20, 2003

East Carolina (0-3, 0-1 C-USA) at Wake Forest (2-1, 1-0 ACC)

Groves Stadium (31,500)/Winston-Salem, NC

Kickoff: 6:35 pm

Television: No broadcast.

Radio: Broadcast by the Wake Forest ISP Sports Network, heard on 16 stations across North Carolina and in Virginia. Voice of the Deacons Stan Cotten calls the play-by-play with former WFU great Ed Bradley serving as color analyst.

On the Internet: With the purchase of a paid subscription, the radio broadcast can be heard live over the web via WFU¡¦s athletics homepage:

The Series: Saturday¡¦s game will be the sixth meeting between WFU and ECU, and the second straight meeting in Winston-Salem. The Deacs lead the series 3-2 after defeating the Pirates in 2001 and ¡¥02.

Records: WFU is 2-1, dropping its first game of the year to Purdue, 16-10, in its last outing. East Carolina is searching for its first victory of 2003 after losses to Cincinnati, West Virginia and Miami.

Rankings: WFU dropped out of the polls after checking in at No. 20/21 last week, but is receiving votes in both major polls. East Carolina is not ranked.

The Coaches: Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe owns a 15-12 mark in his third season with the Deacs. Entering his ninth season as a head coach, Grobe¡¦s career record stands at 48-45-1. East Carolina¡¦s John Thompson is in his first season as a head coach, currently with an 0-3 record.

Wake Wraps Up Three-Game Homestand with ECU Wake Forest will look to get back on the winning track when it hosts East Carolina in the final outing of a three-game September homestand on Saturday, Sept. 20. Kickoff for the non-televised contest is set for 6:35 pm at Groves Stadium.

The Demon Deacons (2-1, 1-0 ACC) suffered their first loss of the season last weekend when visiting Purdue held on for a 16-10 victory. The ECU Pirates (0-3, 0-1 Conference USA) are still looking for their first win of the season after a tough opening stretch which included losses at Cincinnati and No. 2 Miami, as well as a home loss to West Virginia.

Last Time Out: Boilermakers Stifle Deacs in Revenge Victory
Purdue had plenty of motivation going into its matchup with WFU last weekend, and it showed as the Boilermakers shut down the Deacon offense and held on for a 16-10 victory before 29,853 fans at Groves Stadium.

After turning the ball over five times and missing three field goals in last year¡¦s 24-21 Wake victory in West Lafayette, Purdue was 3-of-3 in field goals this year and turned the ball over just once despite fumbling five times.

That one turnover, however, nearly cost Purdue the victory. WFU, down six points, was forced to punt with 2:28 remaining in the game. Return man Anthony Chambers fumbled the ball after being hit by longsnapper Jack Yates, and Riley Swanson recovered it at the Purdue 25. The Deacs, however, were unable to take advantage. Boilermaker Stuart Schweigert, who already had an interception in the game, tackled Chris Barclay for a three-yard loss on 4th-and-1 to seal the Purdue win.

Wake Forest was held to just 56 yards rushing and 244 yards of total offense in the loss, as Purdue was 26-of-36 for 227 yards and one touchdown through the air. The Boilermakers also controlled the tempo of the game, as the Deacs had possession for just 24:33.

Deacs Experience Offensive Lows
Purdue was able to limit Wake Forest to some of its lowest offensive numbers since Jim Grobe arrived in 2001. The 56 total rushing yards are the lowest during this period, surpassing the previous low of 140 rushing yards versus Georgia Tech in 2001. It is also the lowest total since WFU recorded (-)2 yards rushing against North Carolina in 2000.

WFU¡¦s 10 points were the fewest scored in the Grobe era, while the 244 yards of total offense were the second-fewest behind 224 yards in a victory over Duke last season.

Record Attendance In Back-To-Back Home Games
With 29,853 fans in attendance at the Purdue game, Wake Forest set a new two-game attendance record in back-to-back home games. There were 35,741 in attendance at the last home game (NC State) for a two-game total of 65,794. The previous record in back-to-back home games was 65,300 in 1982 (29,100 versus Appalachian State on Sept. 25 and 36,200 versus North Carolina on Oct. 9).

King of the Break-Up
No, that doesn¡¦t mean he¡¦s breaking hearts all across campus, but junior cornerback Eric King has established himself as a key pass break-up specialist. With 13 career PBU entering this season, King has already recorded five break-ups in the first three games of 2003.

King recorded four tackles, two key pass break-ups and an interception in the Deacs¡¦ victory over NC State. King¡¦s first PBU of the day came on a 3rd-and-goal play from WFU¡¦s six-yard line, forcing NC State to settle for a field goal on that drive. His acrobatic interception in the third quarter was the second pick of the day for WFU and led to a Deacon field goal. Perhaps his biggest play of the game was another pass break-up in the fourth quarter, when NC State, trailing 31-17, faced a 4th-and-30 play from the WFU 31. The change in possession led to WFU¡¦s final touchdown drive of the day which sealed the Deacon victory.

King, as well as senior free safety Quintin Williams, is moving up WFU¡¦s career PBU chart. Williams is eighth with 21 career break-ups while King is currently tied for 11th with 18.

Reaping the Benefits in the Red Zone
Up until the final drive of the Purdue game, Wake Forest had been a perfect 8-of-8 in scoring from the red zone so far this season. The Deacs are still tied for second in the ACC statistics for red zone offense, putting up points in eight of nine trips inside the 20 (six touchdowns, two field goals). Maryland is tied with WFU with an 89 percent success rate, while Virginia leads the league at 100 percent (8-of-8 -- seven TDs, one FG).

WFU's numbers are an improvement over last season. In 2002 the Deacs ranked seventh in the league in red zone offense (79 percent), while scoring touchdowns just 54 percent of the time inside the 20.

Bracy & White Pack A One-Two Punch
After leading Wake Forest in total tackles last season, junior linebacker Brad White and defensive back Caron Bracy have picked up right where they left off last fall. The duo currently leads the team with 28 total tackles apiece, which ties for 11th in the ACC's tackles per game listing.

White, who had a team-high 94 stops in 2002, currently has 23 solo tackles and five assisted stops this season. He has also been credited with a TFL and one pass break-up.

Bracy, who finished second on the squad with 82 tackles last season, has a team-best 25 solo tackles so far to go with three assisted stops. He also has one TFL and currently leads the ACC in forced fumbles with two.

Anderson Among Nation's Top Returning Receivers Although he wasn¡¦t a starter in 2002, junior Jason Anderson is one of the nation's top returning wide receivers, in terms of yards per catch. Anderson averaged 23.3 yards per reception last year, a figure that ranked second nationally behind Houston senior Brandon Middleton (24.1 ypc) coming into this fall.

Anderson, who caught six of WFU¡¦s eight receiving touchdowns last season, also reached an impressive milestone in the Seattle Bowl. He recorded his 1,000th career receiving yard in just his 51st reception.

For his career, Anderson has 64 catches for 1,189 yards -- averaging 18.6 yards per catch. Although he needs 11 more receptions (75 career) to appear in this category, that average would set a new school record for career average per reception. The current record is 17.2 yards per catch, set by Todd Dixon from 1990-93.

Plackemeier A Top Punting Candidate
Punter Ryan Plackemeier is averaging an impressive 48.4 yards per punt, a figure that ranks first in the ACC and third nationally. Central Florida¡¦s Matt Prater currently leads the country with 52.4 yards per punt.

Though just a sophomore, Plackemeier has certainly proved that he deserves a spot on the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, annually given to the nation¡¦s top punter. He also received first-team preseason All-ACC kudos from Lindy¡¦s magazine going into this fall.

Plackemeier has put three of his 14 punts inside the 20 so far this season with his longest punt of the year a 58-yarder versus Purdue. He earned ACC Specialist of the Week honors for his NC State performance in which he punted just twice but averaged 49.5 yards per boot and put both inside the 20.

Plackemeier has also taken on placekicking duties since the second half of the season opener. He is a perfect 8-of-8 on PATs and 2-3 in field goals with a long of 37 yards.

Thrown into action as a true freshman in 2002, Plackemeier showed steady improvement over the course of last season. His punting average of 43.2 yards would have ranked first in the ACC had he attempted just a few more punts to meet the minimum qualifying standards.

Bouncing Back
Wake Forest carried an interesting streak into the 2003 campaign, and this week it will be put to the test for the first time this season. Following their previous nine losses (dating back to the 2001 season) the Demon Deacons have bounced back to win the very next game.

Five of those eight rebound victories have come on the road, including 2002 wins over Purdue, Georgia Tech and the victory over Oregon in Seattle.

The Deacs have not dropped more than two games in a row since a three-game skid versus Maryland, FSU and NC State early in the 2001 campaign.

On This Date in WFU History
Over the years, Wake Forest has played eight games on Sept. 20, compiling a 3-5 record ... the Deacs are riding a two-game losing streak on this date, having last won on Sept. 20, 1980 -- a 24-7 victory over The Citadel ... WFU is 2-2 in home games played on this date ... three of the last four Sept. 20 tilts have taken place at Groves Stadium ... the Deacs are 2-3 against non-conference opponents in games played on this day.

Coming Up Next
Wake Forest hits the road for its second ACC game of the season, traveling to Charlottesville, Va. for a date with the Virginia Cavaliers on Sept. 27. Kickoff time is 3:30 pm and will be televised regionally by ABC.

The Demon Deacons brought home a victory from their last trip to Charlottesville, a 34-30 win in 2001. The Cavaliers, however, returned the favor last season in Groves Stadium when the Deacs lost a 27-10 halftime lead and fell to UVa, 38-34.

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