FACTS & STATS: Site: Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) — Durham, North Carolina.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Wake Forest 3-3, Duke 4-2. Away Record: Wake
Forest 0-5, Duke 4-1. Neutral Record: Wake Forest 0-0, Duke 0-0. Conference
Record: Wake Forest 1-6, Duke 4-3. Series Record: Duke leads, 55-37-2.
GAME NOTES: The Duke Blue Devils take aim at their ninth win of the season, as
they play host to rival Wake Forest in an ACC battle at Wallace Wade Stadium
David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils seemed poised to win the ACC’s Coastal Division
title, after winning eight of their first nine games of the season. However,
the wheels fell off the proverbial cart down the stretch, as back-to-back
losses to Virginia Tech (17-16) and North Carolina (45-20) have left Duke on
the outside looking in at the ACC title game.
Dave Clawson’s Demon Deacons were never really in the ACC hunt. Wake Forest
did split its first four games in 2014, but a six-game losing streak ensued,
ending any hopes of a successful campaign. Still, the team has showed up and
played each and every week and finally ended the skid last weekend in an ugly
6-3 victory over Virginia Tech which went into two overtime periods.
Duke holds a 55-37-2 advantage in a rivalry that began all the way back in
1889. Duke has won the last two meetings, but prior to that Wake Forest had
won 12 straight matchups.
Offense has been hard to come by for Wake Forest this season, as evidenced by
the mere six points the team scored last time out. It was actually the least
amount of points scored by Wake in a win since 1966.
The Demon Deacons come into the season finale as one of the worst offensive
squads in the country thanks to a non-existent ground game (37.7 ypg) and a
stagnant passing attack (169.5 ypg). The team ranks 124th nationally in
scoring (14.3 ppg) and dead-last in total offense (207.3 ypg).
Freshman quarterback John Wolford has had more downs than ups this season and
enters this last game having completing 57.4 percent of his passes, for just
1,786 yards, with nine TDs against 14 interceptions.
Tight end Cam Serigne (48 rec, 482 yds, 4 TDs) and wideout E.J. Scott (47 rec,
488 yds, 4 TDs) are the top targets in the passing game, with almost identical
numbers across the board.
Wake’s defense has played much better than the offense this season. The team
is yielding 25.1 ppg, and although teams have had success running against the
Demon Deacons (186.0 ypg), Wake has done a nice job against the pass (176.9
Defensive back Ryan Janvion leads the team in tackles with 104. He has 7.0
TFL, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble to his credit as well.
Linebacker Marquel Lee (88 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks) has made plays
upfield, as has defensive end Zach Allen (58 tackles, 10.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks).
Duke will be at a distinct advantage in this game, as Wake lacks the kind of
firepower that is usually necessary to keep pace with the team.
The Blue Devils come into this game averaging nearly 400 yards per game, while
putting up 31.7 points per outing. Running the football has come easy for
Duke, which is netting 186.6 yards per game on the ground.
The team doesn’t have a workhorse in the backfield, but it has rather been a
dearth of strong runners week-in and week-out getting the job done. Shaun
Williams (568 yards, 4 TDs), but others have had their moments. In all, Duke
has scored 21 rushing TDs on the season.
Quarterback Anthony Boone has four of those, but has contributed much more as
a passer, completing 56.5 percent of his throws, for 2,232 yards and 16 TDs.
It helps to have one of the ACC’s all-time best to throw to in senior wideout
Jamison Crowder. The veteran pass catcher has hauled in 70 passes this season,
for 840 yards and five TDs.
The Blue Devils have struggled at time on defense. The unit has been gashed by
the run this season and yields a generous 208.4 yards per game on 4.5 yards
per carry. The pass defense has been better (199.7 ypg).
Linebacker David Helton has made plays all over the field and leads the team
in tackles with 119. Safety DeVon Edwards has also been active with 106 stops
and four forced fumbles. Fellow safety Jeremy Cash is the another playmaker in
the secondary with 96 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks, two INTs and three forced
Duke let the division slip away and now will simply try to close out strong to
bolster its bowel stock. Wake Forest finally brought an end to its skein, but
even the way the team wins is ugly. The Blue Devils shouldn’t have much
trouble in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 31, Wake Forest 13