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2018

Wake Forest

College Football

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Wake Forest has become relevant under Dave Clawson and that also means higher expectations. After an 8-5 record that finished with a bowl win over Texas A&M, the Demon Deacons are expecting more of the same even with a new quarterback. This team won through an offense that scored 33.7 points per game and will need to reach close to those levels to have a shot at eight wins again. The spring odds have them as the fifth-best team in the ACC Atlantic division, just behind Louisville with +35000 odds (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the National Championship.

Kendall Hinton was the talk of the spring as he’s the guy that’s expected to take over at quarterback for John Wolford. Hinton has limited experience even in his fourth year with the team. He redshirted in 2016 after a major injury with his busiest season being 2015 when he threw 179 passes. He showed his mobility in the spring game, but lacked accuracy and went 5-of-17 for 21 yards. If Hinton can’t come close to what Wolford provided, this team could take a step back. But to help, all starters return up front to go with top running back Matt Colburn (754 yards, 6 TDs). Behind this line, Hinton and Colburn should put up close to the same numbers and Wolford last season. Top receiver Greg Dortch (722 yards, 9 TDs) is back from injury and will need to help Hinton as much as possible along with Scotty Washington (711 yards).

The defensive side was somewhat of a weakness last season even allowing only 26.3 points per game allow. The Deacons still gave up a ton of yards, more than 250 through the air and 191 on the ground per game. Things will have to change in both aspects in coordinator Jay Sawvel’s second season. On the ends, Carlos Basham and Chris Calhoun are set for bigger roles and both will be needed to produce. Linebacker may be the biggest question for the group with Justin Strnad moving into a starting role and expected to be the best of the bunch. To help the front seven, everyone in the secondary is back so those numbers should improve with Amari Henderson and Essang Bassey leading at cornerback. 

Most of the season will come down to quarterback, but Hinton should get two wins under his belt before getting to ACC play. It also helps that Wake has five-straight home games after traveling to Tulane in the opener. There’s a decent chance the Demon Deacons open with a 4-2 record or better with the expected losses coming to Notre Dame and Clemson. Things get a bit tougher with three difficult road games, but home against Syracuse and Pitt should turn into wins. This team may not be as potent as a year ago, but the schedule is friendly enough to reach eight wins in the regular season. That may be best-case scenario, especially with Hinton leading the offense, but behind the experienced line, seven regular season wins can be expected for Wake.

 

2018 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football Schedule

Aug. 30 at Tulane

Sept. 8 vs. Towson

Sept. 13 vs. Boston College

Sept. 22 vs. Notre Dame

Sept. 29 vs. Rice

Oct. 6 vs. Clemson

Oct. 20 at Florida State

Oct. 27 at Louisville

Nov. 3 vs. Syracuse

Nov. 8 at NC State

Nov. 17 vs. Pittsburgh

Nov. 24 at Duke

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