The much-awaited 2020 Wake Forest football schedule was officially released by the ACC on Thursday, Jan. 23. The Demon Deacons are currently tied for the second-most wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference since 2017 and look to continue that dominance on the turf next season.
Additionally, Wake Forest will return five All-ACC performers to the field this fall: 2019 Biletnikoff semifinalist Sage Surratt (redshirt junior), 2019 Lou Groza semifinalist Nick Sciba (junior), 2019 ACC leader in tackles-for-loss Boogie Basham (redshirt senior), safety Nasir Greer (junior) and center Zach Tom (redshirt junior).
The schedule will provide a challenge for the talented Demon Deacon team, facing seven bowl teams from this past season, including four within the Atlantic Division. The three not in the Atlantic Division are in-state rival Appalachian State, Notre Dame and Louisville. These three teams ended their seasons with victories at the New Orleans Bowl, Camping World Bowl and Music City Bowl, respectively.
The always-challenging Clemson Tigers will visit Winston-Salem this year after defeating Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and falling to LSU in the national championship. The Deacons take on Clemson in the Tigers’ last game of the regular season on Nov. 21 in Winston-Salem. Boston College, Miami and Florida State all gained a bowl-berth and FCS squad Villanova qualified for the 24-team FCS playoff.
The Deacons’ opener this year will once again fall on a Friday as the team travels to Norfolk, Va. to take on Old Dominion. The game will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. It is also Wake Forest’s first visit to Norfolk since playing Virginia Tech in a neutral site game in 1958.
There are numerous unique match-ups on this year’s schedule, with one long-anticipated match-up being the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. The home opener for the Demon Deacons, the game will be on Friday Sept. 11. It will be the Mountaineers’ first visit to Winston-Salem since 2001, when the Deacons posted a 20-10 win.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, Wake Forest will return to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. They will look to repeat the victories of their past two games there — the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl and the 2017 Belk Bowl. The Demon Deacons will be the designated home team against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Wake Forest won’t play Notre Dame again until 2023, and it looks to be a big event for the numerous Wake Forest alumni and fans in and around the Charlotte area.
“Wake Forest is the only ACC school with an academic campus in Charlotte, and I know Deacon fans will paint the Queen City black and gold for our match-up against Notre Dame in Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 26,” Athletic Director John Currie said in the press release.
While there are three games on Friday nights, typically the night for high school football, Wake Forest was able to come away with no game during the Fall Break period. This is a victory for fans, players, recruits, etc. It is never fun to play a game without any students there to cheer.
On the flip side, the Friday-night matchup against Miami will be a slight challenge given the Winston-Salem Fair and the traffic associated with it. It looks like a great matchup, the two teams’ first since 2013, and the family weekend festivities will make it all the more exciting.
For the first time since 1983, Wake Forest will not play an ACC game in the month of September. Their first ACC game comes against Duke on their Oct. 3 trip to Durham following four non-conference games through September. The Deacons will take another trip down the road to NC State for a Halloween matchup, which should only add to the atmosphere in this rivalry.
The schedule is packed with home games at the end of season, hosting three of the last four games in the month of November compared with only one home game in the month of October. In tough ACC play, it will be nice to have ample home-field advantage to close out the season.
“We are excited about our six-game home schedule for 2020 that begins with Appalachian State and Villanova, and includes four talented Atlantic Coast Conference teams,” Head Coach Dave Clawson said. “As our program looks to set the standard, we’re excited for our fans to take the next step with us and expand our week-to-week attendance and support from Deacon Nation in 2020.”
It looks to be another great season for Wake Forest football with lots of great matchups and exciting game days at BB&T field. Only about seven more months until football comes back to Winston-Salem!