Duke, Wake Forest rely on 'D' entering ACC opener

BY foxsports • September 9, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest and Duke have been getting it done on defense.

The instate Atlantic Coast Conference rivals meet Saturday in their league opener, and both have defenses that have been overshadowed by offenses that were at opposite ends of the spectrum during their openers.

Neither team allowed a touchdown in opening-game victories, with Wake Forest beating Tulane 7-3 and Duke taking care of North Carolina Central 49-6.

''The challenge is twofold,'' Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. ''We've got to get better (on offense) from Week 1, and we've got a challenging group to do it against.''

The Demon Deacons (1-0) were strong on defense , allowing Tulane a field goal on its opening drive and nothing else. The 280 total yards they gave up was misleading because they didn't get much relief from an offense that struggled to stay on the field - especially in the second half, when the offense ran just 26 plays and gained three first downs.

Duke (1-0) put up even better numbers against a Championship Subdivision opponent. The Blue Devils gave up just 112 total yards - the fewest ever surrendered by a David Cutcliffe-coached team - and both field goals by the Eagles came after Duke turnovers. Central didn't have a drive longer than six plays or 21 yards.

But that was against a low-level opponent. The stakes go way up this week, because this earlier-than-usual result will show up in the league standings.

''You learn quickly the lesson of intensity,'' Cutcliffe said, ''so we're anxious to see if we practice and play with an ACC intensity.''


Some things to know about the Wake Forest-Duke rivalry:

- QB CONCERNS: Clawson is sticking with his two-quarterback system , starting junior John Wolford but bringing in sophomore Kendall Hinton. Neither one was particularly sharp in the opener, with Wolford throwing for 79 yards and Hinton rushing for a team-best 24 yards with the game's only touchdown. He says their numbers would have been better had the Demon Deacons' receivers pulled in some catchable balls against Tulane, adding that ''the bottom line is, we didn't make those plays and as a result, we were not as productive on offense as we need to be.''

- KEEP UP WITH JONES: Duke QB Daniel Jones is coming off one of the best debuts in Duke history. He threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score while amassing a passer rating of 216.51 - a school single-game record for freshmen.

- STREAKY SERIES: It's been Duke's turn to dominate this Tobacco Road rivalry. The Blue Devils have won four straight in the series, including last year's 27-21 decision in Winston-Salem, after the Demon Deacons reeled off 12 wins in a row from 2000-11.

- CAM CAN, CAN'T HE? Wake Forest needs to get its best player the ball more often. TE Cam Serigne managed just three catches for 15 yards against Tulane. Serigne entered the season with 100 catches during the past two years, leading the team with 54 in 2014. Maybe facing Duke will help - he has 11 career receptions and two touchdowns against the Blue Devils, and his only 100-yard game - a five-catch, 135-yard effort - came in last year's meeting.


Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary


AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org

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