While neither NC State nor Wake Forest is headed to the ACC title Game, it’s still a successful season for both teams. In all likelihood the two are set to finish second and third in the Atlantic division and not many expected that going into the season, especially with Louisville and Florida State in the same division. As expected, the bookmakers don’t know which team to go with as the Demon Deacons were -1.5 point home favorites as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
To make this Game even more exciting, it’ll come under the lights on national television. For the first time all season some will get to see quarterback John Wolford, who has been a stud in his final year at Wake Forest. The Deacons maybe are only 3-3 in the ACC, but they’ve scored 106 points in their last two Conference Games and that’ll be the main talking point in this one because NC State has lived through its defense this season. The Wolfpack are coming off a 17-14 road win at Boston College and have held numerous offenses in check (Notre Dame and Clemson not included).
That said, NC State is still allowing 383 yards per Game and 240 of them through the air. Its defensive front is the strong suit, which isn’t a great recipe for stopping Wake. Wolford is on fire and has thrown for at least 330 yards in the last three Games to go with 10 touchdowns. Playing at home, it’ll be tough to go against Wolford if that kind of play continues. Wolford has also been huge on the ground this season leading the team with 10 rushing touchdowns. Of course, running back Matt Colburn can’t be ignored, as his numbers have jumped in the last three Games with 491 rushing yards. There’s little reason to look at last year’s result (33-16 NC State win) because Wolford is a completely different player.
Wake Forest will put points on the board, it’s only a matter of what will happen on the other end because there’s a reason this team isn’t better. The Demon Deacons struggle defensively, giving up 439 yards per Game with 200 of them coming on the ground. While they’ve scored a bunch, they’ve also given up more than 100 points in the last three Games.
Considering NC State has won through defense this year, the offense doesn’t have the numbers that suggests it can keep up. Ryan Finley is mostly a Game manager at quarterback and that was seen last week when the Wolfpack won 17-14 against Boston College, while Finley went 13-of-32 for 146 yards. NC State will focus on its ground Game, which hasn’t produced at a consistent rate between Nyheim Hines and Reggie Gallaspy. If those two can get going, that’ll be huge for the road team, especially if Wake Forest is having success on the other end.
This will be a fun Game between two different kinds of teams, but under the lights, the edge has to go to the home side. The Wolfpack are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road Games, while the Demon Deacons are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five home Games and 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 ACC Games. The home team is an incredible 17-4 ATS in the last 21 meetings between these schools and Wake is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings at home.
Our Pick – Wake Forest -1.5