"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Nataline: Three stars in football’s opening night win

In a game of ups and downs, three players in particular shone through
Evan Harris
Jahmal Banks was often open against Elon.

Jahmal Banks

Mitch Griffis took a liking to the 50/50 ball versus Elon, and the furthest of them hit junior Jahmal Banks. With 108 receiving yards on six receptions, Banks led the air-attack for the Demon Deacons in high-flying style. The student section was turned upside-down when Griffis launched a pass to a fading Banks at the far side of the end zone on third-and-long. Despite defenders on either side of the receiver, Banks brought the 33-yard pass in for Wake Forest’s second touchdown of the day. Banks would haul in an almost identical pass for 31 yards in the third quarter on another pivotal third down, and the conversion led to a Demon Deacon field goal. 

Malik Mustapha

Elon’s offense had trouble gaining each and every yard to start the game, and junior Malik Mustapha’s sure tackling from the secondary was to blame. Mustapha recorded nine tackles on the day, three of which came in the first quarter. Usually set at safety pre-snap, Mustapha’s downhill speed earned him two tackles for loss, both on Elon running back Jalen Hampton. Mustapha also notched a pass deflection and could have snagged a second if sophomore DaShawn Jones didn’t intercept a pass on which they both converged late in the fourth quarter. 

Story continues below advertisement

Demarcus Rankin

Speaking of interceptions, one apiece for Jones and junior Demarcus Rankin means this Wake Forest defense has a third of the total recorded in the entire 2022-2023 season. Five of those picks also came against non-conference opponent. Rankin earned the Star however, as he sent Elon’s offense to the sideline at a significant point in the season opener. Wake Forest quickly built a 17-0 lead while Elon could not move the ball, but the Phoenix finally put together a drive late in the second quarter. The 15-play, 78-yard drive set them up at Wake Forest’s 10 yard-line with the chance to turn a blowout into a two-score game. Rankin got in the way of that, as well as between the football and Elon receiver Omuna Dieke for a clutch interception in dangerous territory.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Aaron Nataline
Aaron Nataline, Sports Editor
Aaron Nataline is a junior from Cranford, NJ majoring in Psychology with a minor in journalism. He spends most of his time dominating the paint at the basketball courts or shamelessly watching reality TV shows.

Comments (0)

All Old Gold & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *