No. 23 Wake Forest set for Hartman’s return at Vanderbilt

Wake Forest’s time with out star quarterback Sam Hartman turned out to be quick. The query now for the Twenty third-ranked Demon Deacons heading into Saturday’s journey to Vanderbilt is how lengthy it takes their offense to seek out final season’s high-efficiency and prolific type.

The Demon Deacons (1-0) beat VMI final week with Hartman out on account of a blood clot close to the collarbone that had sidelined him indefinitely, leaving Mitch Griffis to earn the win in his first profession begin. But the college introduced Tuesday that Hartman had been medically cleared to return and he was again atop the depth chart for the journey to face the Commodores (2-0), sufficient to swing the purpose unfold

“We’re getting back our captain and one of our best leaders that we’ve ever had here, and a really good football player,” coach Dave Clawson stated. “I think more than anything they’re just happy for him because they know how important it is to him.”

Hartman guided the Demon Deacons to 11 wins and a visit to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship sport final 12 months, main an offense that ranked among the many greatest within the Bowl Subdivision ranks. Hartman’s play was additionally a key motive why Wake Forest cracked the highest 10 of the AP Top 25 final 12 months, too.

“We’re all juiced up for it,” linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr. stated.

The Commodores, off to a 2-0 begin for the primary time since 2018, rolled previous Hawaii 63-10 of their opener. But coach Clark Lea wasn’t pleased with how his Commodores cruised to the end of final week’s 42-31 win in opposition to Elon and sees that as one other space for development.

“This is a great opportunity for us to go against the program that’s kind of set the standard here recently with respect to balancing being a great academic school and playing high-level college football,” Lea stated. “For us, we’re still so young as a program and I think the first two games are indicative of this.”

Things to find out about Saturday’s Wake Forest-Vanderbilt sport:


This begins a tricky stretch for Vanderbilt main into Southeastern Conference play.

The Commodores are the one FBS crew scheduled to play three straight video games in opposition to groups that performed for his or her convention title final season. Next up is a sport in opposition to reigning Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois earlier than opening league play in opposition to No. 1 Alabama.

Vanderbilt is amongst 11 groups with at the very least 5 opponents from the preseason AP Top 25.


Having a sport in hand on the remainder of the SEC actually helps, however Vanderbilt at the moment leads the league by averaging 512.5 whole yards whereas rating third in scoring at 52.5 factors.

Vanderbilt has scored 105 factors, which it didn’t attain till the second quarter of its eighth sport final season. The Commodores have scored 42 factors in consecutive video games for the primary time since 2005.

Third-year quarterback Mike Wright, named the starter at SEC media days in July, has been an enormous key. He already has mixed for 10 touchdowns, topping the 9 he scored final season.


Smenda didn’t play final week as a result of he was serving a one-game suspension after selecting up his third focusing on name final 12 months within the Gator Bowl win in opposition to Rutgers. The fifth-year linebacker will make his season debut on this one and entered the 12 months because the crew’s main profession tackler (238).


Lea’s specialty earlier than being employed by his alma mater was protection, and the Commodores have notched at the very least one takeaway in 11 straight video games going again to final season. They now have 12 interceptions with six recovered fumbles in that span. Three fumbles have been recovered mixed over the primary two video games.


Clawson was clearly irritated by the “awful” penalties from the opener in opposition to VMI, which included flags that negated an offensive and defensive landing. Wake Forest completed with seven penalties for 69 yards.

“In a lot of ways it’s an ideal opener,” Clawson stated of the win in opposition to the Keydets of the Championship Subdivision. “We won the game and we got to play a lot of different people. And yet there were a lot of teachable moments that we have to get corrected as we step up the level of play.”


AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.


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