Defense Defeats Offense In Modified Spring Game

The Wake Forest defense forced four turnovers and allowed two touchdowns to "defeat" the offense 41-22 under a modified scoring system in the Spring Game at Groves Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The coaching staff set up a scoring system which rewarded the offense and defense for scores, turnovers and field position.

An estimated crowd of 2,500 enthusiastic Deacon fans caught a glimpse of the 2005 team, including 17 newcomers in the freshmen class.

Rising junior Patrick Ghee led the defense with seven tackles from his safety position to go with two interceptions, a pass break-up and one sack. Sophomore Jonathan Abbate, Wake Forest's leading tackler in 2004, had six stops.

The defense almost completely shut down the ground attack, limiting the offense to only 28 yards on 34 carries. Micah Andrews was the leading rusher with just 17 yards on eight carries.

The Wake Forest pass rush was also effective, sacking the quarterbacks five times. Matt Robinson led the defense with two sacks. Pierre Easley also had a sack and two tackles for loss.

The game saw 80 snaps from the line of scrimmage. The offense threw the ball 46 times, or 58 percent of the time. Wake Forest quarterbacks combined to go 24-of-46 for 371 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Ben Mauk and Cory Randolph saw the majority of the time under center. Mauk went 6-of-16 for 163 yards including a 48-yard bomb to Willie Idlette. Four of Mauk's completions were for 20 yards or more. Mauk threw for one touchdown, the game's first score, a 13-yard pass to Chris Barclay who leaked out of the backfield after Mauk slipped out of the pocket to avoid a sack.

Mauk later threw a pair of interceptions to Ghee and Stanley Arnoux. One of those passes was intercepted after the ball was tipped in traffic.

Randolph was an efficient 8-of-10 for 83 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His longest completion of the afternoon was a 23-yard toss to Zac Selmon.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Allan Holland impressed with a couple nice throws on the run. He finished his day 6-of-13 for 64 yards including a 24-yard completion to senior Chris Davis. Davis led all Deacon receivers with six receptions for 123 yards. Willie Idlette made five catches for 91 yards.

The longest completion of the day was a 49-yard catch and run from quarterback Ben Rieling to David Hobson, both walk-ons, up the near sideline. Moments later, Rieling hit a sliding Trey Schmidt in the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown score.

In all, 15 different players had receptions including Demir Boldin, Kevin Marion and junior Will Hollis who each made two catches. Andrews, Barclay, Richard Belton, Dan Callahan, Alonzo Chisholm, Hobson, Kenneth Moore, Zac Selmon and Travo Woods each chipped in with one catch.

If the Spring Game is any indication, the Deacons should have two very solid kicking specialists in senior All-ACC punter Ryan Plackemeier and new placekicker Sam Swank. Plackemeier surprised no one but still had the fans and the media in awe early in the scrimmage. His first punt went 69 yards in the air before being caught by a retreating Alphonso Smith.

On field goal attempts, Swank nailed 6-of-9 kicks including makes from 42, 42, 47, 47, 52 and 52. His misses came from 31, 47 and 55 -- a kick that had the distance missed wide left.

The game concluded spring practice for Wake Forest. The Deacons will begin to eye the season opener at Groves Stadium on Thursday, September 1 against Vanderbilt.

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