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October 19, 2012

Five keys: Wake at Virginia

Wake Forest at Virginia
Location: Charlottesville, Va.
Venue: Scott Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday at 12:30 PM EST
TV: ACC Network
Current records:
Wake Forest: 3-3, 1-3 ACC (Lost to Maryland 19-14)
Virginia: 2-5, 0-3 ACC (Lost to Maryland 27-20)

Series history: The Cavaliers have an all-time series lead of 34-13, and have won eight of the last 10. However, the Demon Deacons defeated Virginia 28-17 in Winston-Salem in 2008, which was the last meeting.

Jim Grobe 2-3 versus his Alma Mater.

What is on the line? This is a must win for Wake if it hopes to become bowl-eligible, while games against No. 14 Clemson, No. 5 Notre Dame, a trip to NC State and visits from Boston College and Vanderbilt are still on the horizon to make for challenging journey.

The Cavs must win four of its last five games to become bowl-eligible, and a victory over the Deacs would go a long way toward that.

Quotes of the day

"Coach Grobe and his Wake Forest team is a very well-coached team that I'm quite sure is looking for answers and a balance to what direction they go, as well. So this is a very important game for us. It's a home game; it's another conference game. And there are some things that we have to continue to keep working on to put ourselves in a position to win, get back in the winning column. So it will be a very good test for us and one that we are looking forward to." - Virginia head coach Mike London

"I'm seeing outstanding o-linemen, good tackles and guards. I'm also seeing running backs that can not only run the ball, but catch it in the open field and make plays just as any receiver can on their team. I'm seeing very good athletes. I'm surprised they have five losses from what I've seen." - Wake Forest inside linebacker Brandon Chubb

"Any weekend it's any given Saturday. Our team could have a bad few weeks, and then all of a sudden just start clicking. You never know. We just have to make sure we're on our game assignment and know what's going on, and know our duties and be responsible for us. Virginia's definitely a talented team. You saw that last year, and you those same talented guys flying around to the football this year. It's only a matter of time before everything starts running on all cylinders." - Wake Forest wide receiver Terence Davis

"We had an open date this past weekend. I think that was good for us. We probably had maybe as many as a handful of kids that wouldn't have been able to play last Saturday from injury. Hopefully we'll get those kids healthy. Looks like we're going to have a few of them back, maybe all of them back, for Virginia. We'll see. We're looking forward to playing again." - Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe

Keys to the game

1) Value the football

In Wake's last two games, losses to Duke and Maryland, the Deacs have turned the football over a combined six times. Wake Forest only turned the ball over twice in its first four games.

The Demon Deacons must protect the football Saturday if they hope to return to the winners' column.

2) Special teams

Jimmy Newman is a perfect 18-18 on PATs, but he has gone from Ol' Reliable to inconsistent when it comes to field goals. The senior from the Alabama is a shaky 2-6 in that category.

Wake Forest has also struggled in the return game, averaging an anemic 16.6 yards per kick return and 8.4 per punt return.

These are areas the Deacs must improve in dramatically. Saturday will be a good opportunity for Wake's special teams units to get back on track and could be the difference in winning and losing.

3) Stop the run

The Cavaliers are averaging 139.6 yards rushing per game (Eighth in the ACC), while the Demon Deacons allow an embarrassing average of 206.3 yards on the ground (10th in the ACC).

"I think offensively they like to run the football," Grobe said. "They've got two really good running backs that are physical kids, 200-plus-pound kids that like to break tackles, and [have] good balance. [UVA has] a bunch of tight ends that we like. They give you some two tight stuff, a little bit like Stanford, trying to make you decide where you fit in the run."

"He's [Parks] got great balance, breaks a lot of tackles. Last week he rushed for about 130 yards, and that's against what we think is a really good Maryland defensive football team. He's a really good player. He's got good size too. He's hard to get down with a first shot."

Look for the Cavs to challenge Wake's front seven early and often.

4) Give Price more targets

Terence Davis has been Tanner Price's only reliable target during Michael Campanaro's absence. The senior from Georgia has caught 13 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in the last two games.

It is imperative for Lovell Jackson, Sherman Ragland and Brandon Terry to emerge for Price if Wake Forest is going to have a successful aerial attack against Virginia and for the rest of the season.

5) Establish the run

After strong rushing performances versus Army and Duke (463 yards combined) the wheels fell off for Wake's ground attack in College Park (29 carries for 71 yards).

The Cavaliers allow an average 154.4 yards rushing, making their run-defense appear vulnerable to two very capable backs in Josh Harris and DeAndre Martin, who could be set for a big-time performance.


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