It will get more challenging from here for Wake Forest but the Deacons’ season-opening 53-13 victory over Presbyterian Thursday night at BB&T Field provided an encouraging start for the redesigned Deacons.
With redshirt sophomore Ted Stachitas making his first start at quarterback, the Deacons rolled to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and spent a good portion of the warm evening evaluating its potential strengths and weaknesses.
It figured to be a one-sided opener considering Presbyterian – in the fourth year of its move up to Division I football – was coming off an 0-11 season. For the Deacons, though, it was the start of life after Riley Skinner, the record-setting quarterback whose four-year career ended last season.
Stachitas had a solid debut, getting the evening started by rumbling 34 yards for the game’s first touchdown on the Deacons’ third play from scrimmage.
With a renewed focus on the ground game, something that paled with Skinner’s throwing ability, the Deacons were able to move the ball effectively on the Blue Hose. The Deacons had 289 total yards in the first half, led by Stachitas’ 76 yards on the ground.
Wake Forest’s defense had its moments.
Safety Alex Frye picked off a Brandon Miley pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Deacons a 21-0 lead. Frye also had an interception return for a touchdown in the Deacons’ final game last season.
In the third quarter, Wake Forest’s Kenny Okoro picked up a blocked extra point and returned it for two points, a first in the Deacons’ football history.