Winston-Salem, NC - Nikita Whitlock sacked C.J. Brown for a 14-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage to set a menacing tone as Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2 ACC) rolled to a 34-10 Homecoming win over Big Ten-bound Maryland (5-2, 1-2 ACC).
"I think right out of the blocks Nikita was just a beast," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "He did some great things early and I think all of the guys up front played well. Even though they weren't always getting there they had a lot of pressure on the pocket. I thought both quarterbacks [Brown and Caleb Rowe] were very talented and could both throw the football. I think some of the times even though we didn't get there the pressure forced some bad throws."
The Terrapins were forced to eventually triple team Whitlock to get him blocked, as he added another sack for a loss of 15 yards and hurried the quarterback three times.
Maryland claimed a 383-307 edge in total offense yards; however, Wake helped itself with its strong defensive pressure to force a missed field goal, three punts, three turnovers on turnovers on downs, two interceptions and a fumble recovery to often give its offense a short field to operate with (average starting field position: own 36-yard-line compared to Maryland starting from its own 28).
"I thought our defense had 11 guys chasing the football full speed all the time and it was fun to watch," Grobe said. "I was disappointed in the second half when we relaxed a little bit and gave up a 75-yard drive, which really caught my attention. I thought overall for four quarters against a talented quarterback and some talented receivers we really came ready to play."
Tanner Price, who rushed for, caught and threw a touchdown, and the offense took advantage of the help it received from its defense to mount a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.
"I thought he played really well, and I thought he also played really well against North Carolina State," Grobe said. "I think he has put together two games back-to-back, which is pretty special. We have five more games against teams that are really talented, so it is going to take a great effort out of him every week for us to be good on offense."
Notes and observations …
--- Michael Campanaro, who has already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest receivers in Wake Forest and ACC history, broke the school record for all-time receptions when he caught the 217th pass of his career.
He finished with 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown and completed both of his passes for 29 yards, including a four-yard touchdown pass to Price.
--- Consistency has been a problem for Wake in its kicking game the past two seasons, but Chad Hedlund was at his best. The redshirt sophomore from Argyle, Texas went a perfect 2-2 on field goals, making kicks from 51 yards (career-long) and 38 yards out and was good on all four of his PAT's.