RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest and Vanderbilt meet Saturday. The Commodores are trying to reach 3-0 for the first time since 2017.
The Demon Deacons are looking for a 2-0 start after starting at least 3-0 in each of the previous two seasons. An area to watch will be how quickly Wake Forest quarterback Mitch Griffis gets rid of the ball after holding it too long and taking sacks in the opener. Vanderbilt receiver Will Sheppard has grabbed a pair of touchdown catches in each of the first two games. Wake Forest won last year’s matchup at Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt (2-0) at Wake Forest (1-0), Saturday, 11 a.m. ET (ACC Network)
Line: Wake Forest by 10 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Vanderbilt leads 10-7.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Wake Forest and Vanderbilt both want to sustain early-season momentum in a matchup between the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences. The Demon Deacons have started at least 3-0 for two straight seasons, while the Commodores have a chance to start 3-0 for the first time since 2017.
Wake Forest QB Mitch Griffis against Vanderbilt’s defensive front. Griffis is set to make his third career start but took at least two sacks in the opener against Elon in which he held the ball too long. That was an immediate area of concern for coach Dave Clawson after the game. Griffis will have to get the ball out of his hand quicker going forward, while the Commodores come into this game having five sacks in the first two games. Vanderbilt has two key defensive injuries with S De’Rickey Wright questionable after leaving last week’s game limping. He had two interceptions in Vandy’s opening win. DT Brayden Bapst is recovering from a car accident.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vanderbilt: WR Will Sheppard. The fourth-year wideout keeps finding the end zone. In the opener, he had six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns against Hawaii. He had six catches for 62 yards and two TDs against Alabama A&M.
Wake Forest: WR Jahmal Banks. The 6-foot-4 receiver entered the year with the potential to develop into the top target with a strong frame. He opened the year with six catches for 108 yards and an impressive contested TD grab in the opener against Elon.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Commodores’ last 3-0 start before 2017 came in 2011. … Wake Forest won last year’s meeting 45-25 on the road. … Clawson is 3-0 against SEC teams, including a Belk Bowl win against Texas A&M and Gasparilla Bowl win against Missouri. … The Commodores cleaned up an opening-game penalty problem, going from eight penalties against Hawaii to just three against Alabama A&M. … Vanderbilt third-year coach Clark Lea is one of nine coaches in the Power Five to lead their alma mater. … Wake Forest’s last home nonconference loss came to Notre Dame in 2018. … The Commodores have won four of five overall dating to last season.