Wake Forest to welcome Vandy in battle of unbeatens

Wake Forest will aim to beat visiting Vanderbilt for the second consecutive season in a non-conference matchup of unbeaten teams in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Saturday.

The Demon Deacons (1-0) jumped to a 24-0 lead in the first half en route to beating visiting Elon 37-17 in their opener on Aug. 31.

Mitch Griffis led the way, connecting on 19 of 30 throws for 329 yards and three touchdowns. His lone interception was returned 50 yards for one of two Elon touchdowns.

It was the 150th career win for coach Dave Clawson, whose Wake Forest team won at Vanderbilt 45-25 last season.

Clawson’s teams have been known for their deliberately paced, run/pass option system known as the “slow mesh,” but his post-Elon thoughts first focused on defense.

“I thought we played really well on defense,” Clawson said. “Our third-down defense was as good as it’s been here in a long time. I thought we rushed the passer. I thought we covered well.”

The Demon Deacons allowed Elon an average of just 3.9 yards per play, had three sacks and held Elon to 2 of 16 on third-down conversions.

Vanderbilt (2-0) has won four of its past five games dating to last season but was underwhelming in large parts of its home wins over Hawaii and Alabama A&M to open the season. The Commodores turned a 12-3 halftime lead into a 47-13 blowout against the latter, blocking two punts and holding the Bulldogs to 4.1 yards per offensive snap.

“Obviously we’re happy to be 2-0, happy to be coming off a hard-fought win where we battled some adversity,” coach Clark Lea said.

The Commodores could get a boost on defense this week. Safety De’Rickey Wright (two interceptions vs. Hawaii) was injured early in the Alabama A&M and did not return, while starting defensive end Darren Agu, who hasn’t played this season due to a dislocated elbow, should be available Saturday.

Vanderbilt will pin its offensive hopes on the talented quarterback-receiver duo of AJ Swann (452 passing yards, five touchdowns, one interception) and Will Sheppard (12 catches, 130 yards, four scores).

–Field Level Media