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October 5, 2012

Five keys: Wake at Maryland

Wake Forest at Maryland
Location: College Park, Md.
Venue: Byrd Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday at 3:30 PM EST
TV: ESPNU
Current records:
Wake Forest: 3-2, 1-2 ACC (Lost to Duke 34-27)
Maryland: 2-2, 0-0 ACC (Lost to No. 8 West Virginia 31-21)

Series history: The Terrapins have an all-time series lead of 42-17-1, and have won six of the last 10. However, the Demon Deacons defeated Maryland 31-10 in Winston-Salem last season.

Jim Grobe is 5-7 against the Terps during his head-coaching career, and is 3-1 versus Randy Edsall-coached teams.

What is on the line? Wake is a game below a .500 winning percentage in conference play, a victory in its ACC opener would catapult UMD into the Atlantic Division race. The Deacs are three wins from earning bowl-eligibility, while the Terrapins need four more victories.

Quotes of the week

"What we've got to do is we've got to minimize the mistakes, and we've got to take advantage of scoring opportunities on offense when we cross the 50-yard line, and on defense we've got to minimize and get rid of the big plays against us and the same thing with the kicking game. If we do those things and we get everybody really just doing their job and taking care of their responsibilities, then I think what happens is we'll win those games and we won't be on that short end of the stick."

"We're coming off a bye week where I thought that we were able to address some of the issues that we needed to address after the first four games, and looking forward to playing a really good and well-coached Demon Deacon team here on Saturday." - Maryland head coach Randy Edsall

"They have great players. They're very athletic, and they fly to the ball is what I've seen on film. They definitely fly to the ball. They come there with an attitude they want to knock the ball, they want to get the ball back to their offense. They're definitely a team that you have to watch on film a lot, because they have good athletes and they can do a lot of things to hurt you." - Wake Forest fullback/H-Back Tommy Bohanon

"I was very disappointed this past Saturday. We lost to a good Duke team. I thought their kids played great. We did not make the plays that we needed to make. We got in pretty good shape in the fourth quarter with a great chance to win a football game at home and didn't get it done. So we're disappointed. But we're also excited to get back to playing again. [It's a] tough place for us to go. We've had mixed results at Maryland, mostly bad ones, so hopefully we can take this football team up and play better than we have the past couple times." - Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe

Keys to the game

1) Step up at wide receiver

Saturday will answer the big question … Who is will emerge as a reliable target and play-maker for Tanner Price during Michael Campanaro's absence. After fumbling the football Terence Davis finished strong with six receptions for 100 yards.

Aside from Davis the Demon Deacons do not have another receiver with at least 10 catches. It is time for Lovell Jackson, Sherman Ragland and Brandon Terry to answer the bell.

True freshmen wide receivers Jared Crump and Jonathan Williams may also get into the mix at Maryland. Also, Orville Reynolds has gotten more reps with the receivers in practice, and would be dangerous on bubble screens and swing passes Wake used to get Campanaro touches.

2) Stay balanced offensively

After No. 3 Florida State Maryland may have the best defense the Deacs will face this season. The Terrapins rank second in the ACC total defense (177.8 yards passing allowed per game and 83.5 yards rushing per game).
With Campanaro out of the lineup the need to stay balanced with the pass and the run is greater to keep Maryland's stingy defense honest.

"The thing that stands out to me is they're physical," Grobe said. "They got three big interior guys up front. [Joe] Velano's special. He's a really special player. The other two guys [A.J. Francis and Darius Kilgo] are big and physical too. I like the outside backers [Alex Drakeford, Kenneth Tate and Alex Twine]. They got good edge pressure from those guys."

"Kenny Tate's back and they got him playing up inside and he looks really good. The thing that jumps at me is how physical they are on defense, really tough hardnosed group."

Wake Forest's rushing attack is beginning to show promise after gaining 463 yards on the ground in the two previous games combined.

3) Pressure Hills

In four games Maryland true freshman quarterback has been sacked 15 times. Expect Brian Knorr to dial up blitz packages and schemes to stymie and confuse Hills, especially with Mike Madaras, a true freshman, starting at left tackle for the Terps.

Wake has only recorded nine sacks this season, but look for the Demon Deacons to pick up the pressure. With All-ACC nose guard Nikita Whitlock back Tylor Harris and Hasan Hazime are able to see more time at defensive end, their more natural position.

4) Minimize mistakes

The Deacs turned the ball over four times and gave up two major third-and-longs versus Duke. Wake cannot afford to have a similar performance in College Park if it is going to come out on top.

5) Containing Diggs

True freshman Stefon Diggs is on Wake Forest's radar after a strong start to the season. Diggs is a game-breaking threat at wide receiver and as a kick and punt returner.

He has caught 12 passes for a team-leading 259 yards and three touchdowns, and has returned seven kicks for 186 (26.6 yards per return) and 15 punts for 177 yards (11.8 yards per return).

"He's just electric," Grobe said. "He's got the great foot-speed. He's a homerun hitter on offense. The thing that really concerns you is their special teams are good, and he's really electric returning punts and kicks."

"It puts a lot of pressure on your cover teams both punt and kick cover teams. It's going to be important for Mate [Kinal] to get good height on his punts, so we got a chance to get down and cover them and then with Jimmy [Newman] … kicked pretty good the other day [versus Duke]. The one kick he got under too much and didn't get very depth on it and they caught it somewhere between the five and the 10. One of his balls was too low. He kicked it hard, but he got there in a hurry. Those are the things you worry about, and have you have much wind, if you're going into the wind now do you squib it [or] sky kick? What are you try to do? It gives us as coaches a lot of things to think about before we get up there Saturday."


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