December 19, 2008

EagleBank Bowl Preview: Deacons Look to Show their Demon Side in a Re-Match Versus Navy

Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Navy (8-4)
9 a.m. (MT), ESPN
Announcers:  Terry Gannon, David Norrie, Quint Kessenich
Washington, D.C., RFK Stadium

Last Five Bowl Games

Wake Forest:  4-1 (Won last two.  Last loss:  2007 Orange Bowl, #5 Louisville, 13-24)
Navy:  2-3 (Lost last two.  Last Win:  2005 Poinsettia Bowl, Colorado St., 51-30)

Players To Watch

Wake Forest:  Aaron Curry, Linebacker

This year's winner of the Butkus Award over guys like James Laurinatis and Brian Cushing; racked up 101 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and an interception.  He leads the Demon Deacon defense that ranks in the Top 20 in Scoring Defense at 18.25 points per game.

Navy:  Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, Quarterback

Enhada came back from a hamstring injury against Army.  He was limited this season, from that hamstring injury he suffered in the second quarter against Wake Forest.  Enhada brings the potential Play Action threat that is so crucial to an option attack, catching a defense off guard and getting the big play down field.  Enhada has the capability to do that, especially with a Running Back like Shun White who has ran for over 1,000 yards this season.


Back on September 27th of this season, Navy stunned 16th ranked, and undefeated Wake Forest in Winston-Salem to give the Demon Deacons their first loss of the season, 24-17.  A costly six turnovers did the Demon Deacons in, and since that game have had an up-and-down season; finishing the season with a 7-5 record.  A major disappointment for a team that had aspirations of a second ACC title in three years.

Navy on the other hand, after beating Wake Forest, their first win over a ranked team since 1985 had a solid season under first-year Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo.  The Midshipmen went 8-4 capping the season off with their seventh straight victory over rival, Army.  This is Niumatalolo's second bowl game as Head Coach however.  Last season, Niumatalolo was HC in the Poinsettia Bowl against Utah in replace of Paul Johnson who left for Georgia Tech.

In this rematch tomorrow, Navy must force turnovers again to come out victorious.  Wake Forest is a team that's reeling, losing two of their last three to finish the year.  Navy needs to get out to a fast start and they should be in control for the rest of the game.  Wake Forest is a program this year that has been exposed as a fraud in my opinion.  Many "experts" were thinking the Demon Deacons were a program on the rise, but they have proven their another "one and done" program and the rest of their years wallow in mediocrity.  Navy on the other hand is excited to be in the Inaugural EagleBank Bowl, and they are thrilled to have a bowl game close to home for once.  Three of their last four bowl games have been out on the west coast.

Excitement Level For This Game (1 - Don't Care to 5 - I would hit a child to watch this game):  2


Navy 24  Wake Forest 17

For more info and analysis of the EagleBank Bowl go to the Gunaxin Blog Bowl.  LINK

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