Opening night at Deactown: the Deacs dominate the Monarchs (42-10)

Preview: Old Dominion Monarchs vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons


The start of the season is always big, as it is a tone-setter.


For the visiting Old Dominion Monarchs from Conference USA, it's about a new beginning. Coming off a 1 win season (in 2019) and not having played a game in 643 days, they are looking to improve, especially on offense where they averaged 16.2 points per game. The expected leaders on offense include Stone Smartt (Sr/Quarterback), running back Blake Watson, and Sophomore Wide Receiver Ali Jennings who is leading a freshman laden receiving corp. On defense, seniors Jordan Young (Linebacker), Tre Hawkins (Cornerback), and Joe Joe Headen (Safety) are expected to set the pace.


DJ Mack draws the start at quarterback for the Monarchs.


Wake Forest is coming off its 5th consecutive bowl game appearance (with a 3-2 record in their post-season appearances). Last year (2020), the offense averaged 36 points per game; key leaders Sam Hartman (Quarterback), Christian Beal-Smith (Running Back), along with one of the nation's top wideouts, Jaquarii Roberson, are looking at having an even more explosive season. Seniors Ja'Sir Taylor (Cornerback), Traveon Redd (Rover), and Luke Masterson (Linebacker) are among those leading an opportunistic team defense.





First Half Highlights


Wake Forest strikes first with an electrifying touchdown run by Christian Beal-Smith to give them a 7-0 lead. After the Monarchs respond with a field goal, a combination of solid offense and nearly dominant defense put the Deacons in position to take control of the game.


Ja'Sir Taylor's first career kickoff return is done in an explosive manner, as his 99-yard kickoff return (for a touchdown) gives Wake Forest a 14-3 lead. As the half continues, solid play by Sam Hartman gets the passing game in gear. Both A.T. Perry and Jaquarii Roberson haul in touchdown receptions, and by halftime, the Deacons have a favorable 28-3 lead.





Second Half Highlights


Christian Beal-Smith adds his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge to give the Deacs a 35-3 lead over the Monarchs. Combined with a stout defense which contains the running game and keeps quarterback DJ Mack under constant duress, the team focuses on maintaining momentum and control of the game.


Ke'Shawn Williams adds a touchdown reception at the 12:50 mark of the 4th quarter to extend the lead to 42-3.


At the 2:27 mark of the 4th quarter, the Monarchs finally put a halt to the Deacons' 35 unanswered point run. Isaiah Spencer's touchdown reception is the team's first score since the 1st quarter, closing out the game, as the Deacs earn a 42-10 season opening win.







Recap


During the postgame press conference, while showing concern on some of the special teams play, Coach Dave Clawson feels upbeat about the team being able to give multiple players opportunities to play and develop, as depth is key this season (let alone any season). He notes the decision-making and overall skill set of Ja'Sir Taylor lending favorably to returning kickoffs (given his 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown) and being able to build upon each week.


Quarterback Sam Hartman notes while the passing game is efficient, there are areas to improve upon, especially given it's the team's first game since their bowl game in December (against Wisconsin). Luke Masterson (linebacker) notes the performance of Freshman defensive-end Jasheen Davis (9 tackles) as a tone-setter for the defense (as they allow 10 points).


A.T. Perry (wide receiver) notes the blend of the jitters and excitement of playing in front of a larger home audience of adding to the larger energy and focus for the game. Likewise, Ja'Sir Taylor notes the importance of focus and playing hard each play (including his pivot to kickoff returns given the season-ending injury to Donavon Greene) being vital to success for the game, let alone the larger season; all note the presence of the students and fans as adding to the team's home-field advantage.


While Old Dominion won the time of possession (32:19 to 27:41) battle, Wake outgains them (352 to 272 total yards). Wake has a plus-1 turnover advantage (2 to 1).


Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman's (Wake Forest) efficient performance (18/27 for 188 passing yards) includes 3 touchdowns. Christian Beal-Smith's 74 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns pace the running game. A.T. Perry (4 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown) along with Jaquarii Roberson (46 receiving yards and a touchdown) lead the receivers. In addition to his team leading 9 tackles, Jasheen Davis adds 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.


Elijah Davis (12 carries for 69 yards) is the leading presence for the Old Dominion offense, as their passing attack musters 127 yards. Linebacker Jordan Young leads the way on defense with 9 tackles.


Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman's (Wake Forest) efficient performance (18/27 for 188 passing yards) includes 3 touchdowns. Christian Beal-Smith's 74 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns pace the running game. A.T. Perry (4 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown) along with Jaquarii Roberson (46 receiving yards and a touchdown) lead the receivers. In addition to his team leading 9 tackles, Jasheen Davis adds 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.


Elijah Davis (12 carries for 69 yards) is the key presence on Old Dominion's offense, as the passing game musters 127 yards. Linebacker Jordan Young's 9 tackles lead the defense.


Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman's (Wake Forest) efficient performance (18/27 for 188 passing yards) includes 3 touchdowns. Christian Beal-Smith's 74 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns pace the running game. A.T. Perry (4 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown) along with Jaquarii Roberson (46 receiving yards and a touchdown) lead the receivers. In addition to his team leading 9 tackles, Jasheen Davis adds 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.


The Deacs (1-0, 0-0) take on Norfolk State on September 11th at 12pm (at home) while the Monarchs (0-1, 0-0) take on Hampton (on September 11th) and look to breaking into the win column.


Additional notes:


All photos and video are captured by Andrew Snorton. Enjoy the game photos and videos, including the halftime performance of the visiting Red Sea of Sound via Winston-Salem State University.

















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