This weekend, Wake Forest will play host to the Pirates of East Carolina, a team that was shocked by Duke - that's right, Duke - this past week, 23-16.
With both ECU and Wake heading into their second games of the season with 0-1 records, Saturday's contest is a very important game for each team if they wish to play in December this season.
While Wake's offense played well Thursday, the Deacon defense and kicking game did not. Wake struggled to stop Northern Illinois all night, giving up 421 total yards - an average of 5.2 yards per play. The Deacon defense also gave up 26 first downs on the night.
Meanwhile, Deacon special teams, mainly Wake's kicking game, struggled most of the night. Although Fabian Davis ran back a punt for a touchdown, special teams was woefully bad the rest of the night. Kicker Matt Wisnosky missed a field goal of 31-yards and had a 48-yard kick and an extra point blocked Thursday. A Northern Illinois fake punt also burned WFU special teams, allowing for a first-down and an eventual score.
Also of note, some rumors have surfaced that true freshman Ryan Plackemeier is hurt. Those rumors are false. He is not injured - in fact he is kicking very well in practice and is definitely up there with Wake's other kickers this season. Coach Grobe has told Ryan that he hopes to redshirt the California native this season and has stressed to Ryan that he should continue to keep his academics in line.
Montique Sharpe wrote in his online diary: "The good thing is that as a team we understand that one game does not make or break our season...The loss just means that we need to get back to practice and work on getting better."
Sharpe's right. Getting better is exactly what will happen with this team. We know the special teams situations will improve for the Deacons in the coming games - it is just a matter of how much this team will improve and how long (or short) we have to wait until everything comes together.
Stay tuned to DeaconSports for more football coverage leading up to Wake's showdown with ECU.