On Friday September 3, the Old Dominion Monarchs visit Truist Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the opening game of the college football regular season for both teams. Old Dominion did not play in 2020 and were 1-11 in 2019. The Monarchs will be led by first year head coach Ricky Rahne. Stone Smartt, Hayden Wolff and transfer DJ Mack will compete for the starting quarterback job.
The running back position is up in the air as Blake Watson and Matt Geiger will compete with true freshman Jon-Luke Peaker while Obie Sanni could see the most snaps in the offensive backfield. Old Dominion's wide receivers will be led by Aaron Moore and 6-foot-5 Nigel Fitzgerald who could create matchup problems for opposing secondaries.
Wake Forest has every starter on the offense returning. Quarterback Sam Hartman needs time in the pocket to excel and is not a threat to run the ball. Hartman completed 63% of his passes last season through seven games with no interceptions but in the final two games was picked off five times. Jaquarii Roberson is one of the nation's top slot receivers and the Demon Deacons look for Donovan Greene to have a breakout season. At running back Christian Beal-Smith returns and the Demon Deacons added Christian Taylor from Michigan.
On defense, the Demon Deacons allowed 37 points or more in five games last season. The interior line will be led by Miles Fox, Tyler Williams and Sulaiman Kamara. Jacorey Johns will be looked at to provide outside pass-rushing on the edge. Rayna Smenda Jr is the top returning linebacker but struggled with injuries last season. The secondary will have walk-on star Nick Anderson back as well as Nasir Greer, Ja’Sir Taylor and Caelen Carson giving Wake its strength on that side of the line.