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Hokies Cannot Afford To Look Past Struggling Wake Forest

by Brittany Gropp
October 15, 2010

The Hokies (4-2, 2-0) took care of business last weekend, defeating the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-4, 1-2) 45-21 at home.

Despite allowing the Chippewas to get up 7-0 on the opening drive, Tech immediately answered back with a 72-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The Hokies then scored 38 unanswered points and eventually substituted in a number of backups.

Although the win against Central Michigan does little to bolster Tech's perceived strength nationally, the matchup provided the Hokies with one final tune-up game before the six ACC matches that remain on Tech's schedule.

On Saturday, the Hokies face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-4, 1-2). This will be the first time the Deacons' football squad has traveled to Blacksburg in almost 27 years.

At this point in the season, Wake does not boast an overly impressive record. Their two wins came from a 53-13 win over Presbyterian in week one and a 54-48 win over Duke in week two. Since then, the Deacons have recorded four losses in a row to Stanford, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Navy. But as Tech knows based on its own 0-2 start, you can't judge a team by its record.

"I think Wake Forest is...I think they're certainly better than their record," said coach Frank Beamer. "They've had two tough losses in the last couple of weeks. I think they continue to get better."

One of those tough losses for Wake came against Navy just last week. Following a back-and-forth shootout with the Midshipmen throughout the game, the Demon Deacons were handed a one-point loss when Navy managed to get into the end zone with just 26.4 seconds left on the clock.

The Demon Deacons may not have gotten the win against Navy, but they did come to an important conclusion: true freshman quarterback Tanner Price is their man. 

In his first home start, Price set almost every single-game passing record in Wake Forest's books on Saturday. He threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, completing 37 of 53 passes. Applying pressure to Price will be a priority for the Hokies this weekend.

"People might say he's a freshman, but he's not playing like a freshman," said defensive tackle John Graves. "He's playing a lot better right now. ... We're going to see what we can do to get back there."

Another strength of the Demon Deacons football team is 10-year head coach Jim Grobe. According to Beamer, in addition to being a solid coach on the field, Grobe is also a good person off of the field.

"I can tell you there's not a coach I respect more than Jim Grobe and his staff," said Beamer. "I feel like we're a lot the same. I think our values, and how we coach, respect our players, and so forth. I'd like to think...that what I think he is...I'd like to think I am too."

Beamer said that, once again, the focus this week is to keep getting better. The Hokies may have earned a quality win on Saturday, but there are still improvements to be made.

"We're going to continue to prepare the best we can for (the Wake Forest game)," said Graves. "And we'll be ready on Saturday."

The Hokies take on Wake Forest on Saturday at Lane Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30.