AP SPORTS — Wake Forest opens its 10th season under Dave Clawson in search of an eighth straight postseason appearance. Elon opens its fifth season under Tony Trisciani in search of a first win against a Bowl Subdivision opponent as a Championship Subdivision team.
Wake Forest QB Mitch Griffis against Elon’s revamped defense. Griffis is taking over for the Demon Deacons after veteran Sam Hartman transferred to play a final season at No. 13 Notre Dame. Griffis thrived against VMI to open last season with Hartman sidelined but now he’s the unquestioned starter. He faces a Phoenix defense that returns just four starters, led by preseason all-Colonial Athletic Association pick Bo Sanders at defensive back.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Elon: QB Matthew Downing. Downing has taken a long route to Elon, making stops at Georgia, TCU and last year at Louisiana Tech. He will get some help by working behind a line with four returning starters.
Wake Forest: WR Jahmal Banks. With expected top threat Donavon Greene potentially sidelined for the season by injury, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Banks could gain an even larger role. Banks had nine touchdown grabs on 42 catches last season — better than a 20% scoring rate — to tie Taylor Morin for second behind the departed A.T. Perry.
FACTS & FIGURES
Wake Forest has won 19 games the past two years while averaging 38.6 points, good for sixth nationally in that output. … The Demon Deacons are 7-2 in openers under Clawson. … Elon is 1-28-2 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, with the only win coming against Miami in 1928. … These schools are separated by about 50 miles in central North Carolina. The lone tie in the series came in a scoreless game in October 1927. … Elon has scored a total of 29 points in the 12 games against Wake Forest dating to the first meeting in November 1920, with no more than seven points in any game and five shutout losses.