Boston College - Wake Forest Preview, Winner Plays For Atlantic Title

JB McCandlesCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

It's simple, the winner of this one will go on to play for the ACC Atlantic division title. These teams are coming from different stories and different sides of the ball.

Wake Forest came into this year with high expectations. They had a solid start to their season, but since then it has been all down hill.

Wake Forest was praised for their offense in the preseason, with the return of Junior quarterback Riley Skinner, a third year starter, and sophomore running back Josh Adams, who rushed for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Wake currently ranks 101st in the nation in total offense and 98th in scoring offense.

On the other hand Skinner has had a decent year for himself. He's completed 64% of his passes for 1,882 yards and has more than twice as many TD passes (11) as interceptions (5). Skinner has yet to have that true breakout game (350, four TD).

His top passing performance this year was 232 in an OT win verse Duke. He has yet to pass for more than two TDs in a game this year. You can't put the weight on Skinner, especially considering the lack of a rushing attack.

Josh Adams and Freshman Brandon Pendergrass are averaging just 3.6 and 3.3 yards per carry, respectively. They have combined for just six touchdowns. Adams has missed two of the last three with an ankle sprain.

On the receiving note, Wake has had a bit of a bright spot...DJ Boldin has caught 63 for 622 and three TDs. The problem for Boldin has been a break out game. His game high for receiving yards this season is just 89 in an OT win verse Duke. 

The O-line hasn't helped at all. Wake's O-line ranks 102nd in the nation in sacks allowed per game...On average, Skinner goes down two and 1/2 times a game. 

On the other side of the ball Wake has been more than solid. Wake is 28th in the nation in total defense and 18th in scoring defense. Wake has been better against the run (27th), than the pass (48th).

Cornerback Alphonso Smith is top in the nation amongst interception leaders with 5 picks. Kevin Paterson has added in four picks. Wake is ranked 3rd in turnover margin (+ 14). Aaron Curry is ranked 21st in the nation for tackles for a loss. The reason for Wake's success on defense: They start seven seniors and two juniors and eight members of Wake Forest's starting defense have at least 20 career starts. 

Bottom line:  After beating Clemson on October 9th, the Demon Deacons were 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. Since that time, Wake Forest is 2-3 with one of those victories coming in overtime against Duke (the other win was 28-17 over Virginia).

Wake not only lost 26-0 to Maryland but also lost to Navy earlier in the season. Last week, they lost to North Carolina State. The bottom line: Wake Forest is not playing very good football.

For BC, the people in Las Vegas weren't impressed by BC's win at FSU. Wake comes into the game as a two point favorite. BC has also struggled on offense this year, but it's understood. BC is still in the process of getting Chris Crane broken in. However they have shown a strong running attack with two true freshman Montell Harris and Josh Haden.

BC's success has come with the defense and special teams. BC has been intercepting balls left and right. They intercepted Claussen four times and Ponder three.

This game has defensive battle written all over it. A BC defense that has given up just 17 points in the past two weeks will face a Wake Forest offense that has had trouble moving the ball and scoring points this season. On the other side of the ball, BC's offense has been improving but putting up points against this talented and experienced Wake defense will not be easy.

This game, like most ACC games this season, will likely come down to turnovers. Wake Forest has created nearly twice as many turnovers (29) as they have committed (15) and BC leads the ACC in interceptions (21) so one would expect some big plays and maybe some scoring from the defenses.

BC has played excellent football the past nine quarters while Wake Forest has struggled. BC appears to be the better team right now but this is the ACC where it is impossible to predict anything from week to week. 

BC 27-10


BC holds a 7-6-1 advantage over Wake Forest in the all-time series. Wake is 3-2 in the last five years against BC.

Fourteen former Wake Forest players currently play in the NFL.

Wake CB Alphonso Smith is second in ACC history in pass interceptions with 19. North Carolina's Dre Bly had 20 between 1996 and 1998.

Wake Forest has been outscored 69-44 in the fourth quarter this season. They have outscored opponents 60-38 in the first quarter.

Wake Forest is eight for 16 in fourth down conversions this season.


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