Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Demon Deacons to Open 2018 Season on Thursday in the Big Easy

New Orleans awaits for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons kick off the 2018 season on the road at Tulane this Thursday night. Tulane leads the overall series between the two teams, 2-1, with Wake Forest winning the last matchup, 7-3, in 2016.

Yulman Stadium
The 2017 season ended on a high note as the Demon Deacons won their second-straight bowl game, a wild 55-52 affair, over Texas A&M in the Belk Bowl. It was only the second time in program history that Wake Forest has won back-to-back bowl games.

Coach Dave Clawson is handing over the keys to team's offense to a true freshman, Sam Hartman. If that name rings a bell with North Carolina high school football fans, there's a good reason for that. Hartman played high school ball at private school powers SouthLake Christian and Davidson Day before that school was forced to fold its program. Hartman will be only the second true freshman to start a season opener in Wake Forest football history and one of five at the FBS level in 2018 (Rutgers, Nebraska, Minnesota, USC).

Looking to be on the receiving end of Hartman's passes on Thursday night will be a crew of young receivers, led by speedster Greg Dortch. Dortch was on a leading all freshmen in the nation in touchdown receptions and receiving yards before an injury ended his season early. Coach Clawson was excited to have the redshirt sophomore back this season. "He looks good. He's healthy, and obviously he's a big part of our offense, so we need Greg to be Greg Dortch. We need him to be elusive, and certainly he can be a huge role on special teams for us. But a lot of what we do on offense goes through the slot position, and we feel we have a pretty good one there."

Lining up at wideout with Dortch will be Sage Surratt, a former two-sport star who played his high school ball at East Lincoln and Lincolnton. "He's a guy that I think is capable of a breakout season. He's one of the best athletes on the team. His hand-eye coordination is exceptional. He's competitive. He's smart. And we're very excited to see what he can do this year" Clawson mentioned at the ACC media day.

Kickoff from Yulman Stadium is scheduled for 8:00 ET. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.