Wake has formidable 1-2 punch

Tailbacks Barclay, Andrews could make it long day for Terps

ACC Notebook

College Football

September 21, 2005|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun reporter

Wake Forest senior tailback Chris Barclay has lost his starting job, but not his ability to control a game. And with the dramatic emergence of sophomore Micah Andrews, Barclay is enjoying the way the Demon Deacons' backfield is becoming a two-headed beast.

Barclay, a two-time, All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer, missed the season opener while serving a one-game suspension for a violation of team policy. But on Saturday he rushed for a career-high 210 yards and four touchdowns to lead Wake Forest (1-2) to its first victory, a 44-34 decision over East Carolina.

Before that, Andrews, an effective backup to Barclay in 2004, announced his presence by starting the opener and rushing for 254 yards on 34 carries in a 24-20 loss to Vanderbilt. For now, coach Jim Grobe is sticking with Andrews as his starter, and why not?

Together, Andrews and Barclay are the most productive rushing duo in the NCAA, averaging a combined 288.3 yards per game. Andrews leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the NCAA with an average of 153.3 yards per game. Barclay is averaging 135 yards.

"[Being a backup] is still an adjustment for me, but who's starting is not going to be the tell-tale story of whether we win. We're both real capable," said Barclay, 5 feet 10, 180 pounds, who is bidding to become only the fourth player in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.

"Micah [5-10, 205] is more of a power runner who gets the four or five yards that are hard to get, but he also has some pretty good speed. I'm more of a change-of-direction, quick guy who gets into the open field and makes one or two people miss. We feed off of each other."

With Barclay and Andrews leading the way, the Demon Deacons might be preparing to feed off of Maryland, which will visit Winston-Salem on Saturday. The Terps are ranked 105th in rushing defense out of 117 Division I-A teams. Wake Forest ranks eighth nationally in rushing offense.

"That's a possibility. It's something we want to capitalize on," said Barclay, who refuses to take Maryland's struggling defense for granted and is just glad to be in the backfield rotation again.

"Sitting out that first game was tough," he said. "It was a very humbling experience. It taught me a lot. Don't take this game for granted, because it can be taken away from you."

Respect, but pain

Boston College (2-1, 0-1) was not able to close the deal by beating Florida State, yet the Eagles gained respect as the ACC's newest member in their first encounter against a league opponent, and a top-shelf one at that. But the Eagles, who overcame an early, 14-0 deficit before losing, 28-17, might have lost their starting quarterback for a while.

Senior quarterback Quinton Porter, who threw two early interceptions that put the Eagles in a two-touchdown hole, then brought Boston College back, left the game in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle. Sophomore backup Matt Ryan could not get the offense going enough to compensate for Porter's loss.

For now, Ryan is taking all of the snaps with the first team in practice. Porter is day-to-day. There is a slim chance Porter will start at Clemson on Saturday. He also could be out for at least two games.

Coach Tom O'Brien liked the way Boston College's offensive line and defense established themselves with physical play against the Seminoles. He liked the way the Eagles didn't crumble after a terrible beginning. But please, no talk about moral victories.

"That's for other people to decide. I don't play that game," O'Brien said. "I felt we could compete in this conference, and we went out and did that. What we have to do is prove we can win in this conference."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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