When and where: October 19, 2019, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC, 7:30 PM ET
A heartbreaking loss in a shootout with Louisville has the Wake Forest Demon Deacons seeking redemption in Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with the Florida State Seminoles. After trailing by as many as 22 points, the Demon Deacons rallied in the fourth quarter and came within three points of tying Louisville and taking the game into overtime. However, they were held in check and forced to succumb to their first loss of the season.
Florida State already owns a win over Louisville this year, but they are coming off a 45-14 loss on the road to Clemson (shocker). After being bullied by the defending national champions, they’ll try to earn their third conference win of the season on the road against Wake Forest.
Defensively-challenged Seminoles can’t stop anyoneA common theme throughout the season has been how poorly the Seminoles have performed on the defensive side of the ball. They are giving up an average of 464.5 total yards of offense and 32.2 points per game. Even if the offense was excelling, which it clearly isn’t, that sort of consistent defensive liability is incredibly hard to overcome.
They’ll have their hands full in attempting to slow down Wake Forest’s high-flying offensive attack with Jamie Newman behind center. The Demon Deacons’ junior quarterback has thrown for 1,772 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. He is also a threat to run whenever the pocket breaks down, adding another headache for the Seminoles. Not to mention the Seminoles could be without defensive back Cyrus Fagan, who is listed as questionable for the game with an undisclosed leg injury.
They have to figure out a way to generate pressure, even though they’ve struggled to consistently do so this season. However, they do have 17 sacks on the year, and their ability to add to that number could mean the difference between winning and losing on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons have also shown coverage issues on defense. Even if the Seminoles defense fails to get stops, they should have plenty of confidence in quarterback James Blackman and tailback Cam Akers helping them strike back on offense. However, they’ll be forced to do so without the help of wideout Keyshawn Helton, who is expected to sit out the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Akers especially could be the key component in helping the Seminoles establish a balanced attack against a Demon Deacons defense allowing an average of 414.3 total yards of offense per game.
Head coach Willie Taggart is keeping the starting quarterback a secret. James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook could share time or one could start and go all the way. Of course, that could depend on how the game goes. So when asked Thursday, could they go with both or which one will start?
His answer to both? "You'll see Saturday."
Wake Forest flies high even in defeatIt took Louisville 62 points to finally put Wake Forest away.
That’s a scary note for any would-be opponent that isn’t equipped with a good enough defense to slow down the Demon Deacons’ aerial assault. Newman has been nothing short of amazing in the pocket in his ability to threaten defenses on the move. Perhaps the only concern is the fact that he’s playing through a shoulder injury. It isn’t anything that is expected to keep him off the field on Saturday, but it is something to monitor heading into the game.
He has also thrown an interception in his last three games, including two against Louisville. Florida State hasn’t necessarily proven itself to be a ball-hawking team, but Newman will have to be sure not to give them any extra possessions on a shortened field. A steady dose of Akers is just what the doctor ordered against a run defense allowing an average of 4.05 yards per carry.
Don’t be surprised to see the Seminoles test the Demon Deacons’ defensive secondary as well. The unit has struggled all year, and they recently lost defensive back Luke Masterson for the season with a shoulder injury. Florida State is more than capable of pulling a Louisville on Wake Forest if they play sloppy defense on Saturday.
- Seminoles are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Seminoles are 1-7-3 ATS in their last 11 road games against a team with a winning home record.
- Seminoles are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- Seminoles are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on field turf.
- Demon Deacons are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Demon Deacons are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss.