A pair of teams from Tobacco Road and the ACC meet in a crossover matchup on the gridiron looking to earn a win. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are on the road as they make the short trip to face the Duke Blue Devils Saturday afternoon. Wake Forest comes in off a 45-35 win at home over Syracuse, covering the line as a 9.5-point favorite last Saturday in their previous contest. Duke was edged 28-26 on the road by Pitt last Saturday in their most recent game though they did cover as a seven-point underdog. In the all-time series between the schools, the Blue Devils own a 55-40-2 advantage though the Demon Deacons have won the last three, including a 45-7 home win in the most recent matchup on October 30, 2021.
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Wake Forest Demon Deacons Try to Earn Road VictoryWake Forest snapped a three-game losing streak as they took down Syracuse at home in their previous contest. The Demon Deacons improved to 7-4 overall and stand 3-4 in the ACC, putting them tied for fourth in the Atlantic Division standings. Against Syracuse, Wake Forest trailed 7-3 after the opening quarter and 21-10 with under seven minutes to play in the first half before getting things going. The Demon Deacons reeled off 35 unanswered points to go up 45-21 with 12:30 to play and held off Syracuse for the win. Wake Forest held a 543-477 edge in total offense, piled up 36 first downs while allowing 21 and held a 34:53 to 25:07 edge in time of possession. The Demon Deacons forced the game’s lone turnover, which was a pick-six, in the victory.
The Demon Deacons enter this contest 11th in the nation in passing offense with 311.6 yards per game through the air and 88th in rushing offense with an average of 135.6 yards per contest. Wake Forest is 15th in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 37.4 points per game while they stand 94th in scoring defense by allowing only 28.8 points a contest. Sam Hartman is 221 of 350 passing for 3,074 yards with 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while adding 89 yards and a score on the ground. Mitch Griffis (29 of 41, 348 yards, five TD, INT, 14 rush yards) and Michael Kern (three of four, six yards) have seen action as well. Christian Turner (121 carries, 492 yards, seven TD) and Justice Ellison (139 carries, team-high 601 yards, four TD) provide a 1-2 punch in the ground game. A.T. Perry leads the team with 62 receptions for 893 yards and 10 scores this season. Donavon Greene (33 catches, 567 yards, five TD), Jahmal Banks (39 catches, 564 yards, eight TD), Ke’Shawn Williams (36 grabs, 512 yards, TD) and Taylor Morin (38 receptions, 452 yards, six TD) have each gone over the 400-yard mark in receiving yards. Matthew Dennis has hit all 49 extra point attempts and 11 of 13 field goal attempts with a long of 46 on the year. Zach Murphy has connected on all three extra point attempts without attempting a field goal this season.
Duke Blue Devils Looking to Prevail at HomeDuke battled but saw their three-game win streak come to an end as they were upended on the road by Pitt in their previous contest last Saturday. The Blue Devils fell to 7-4 overall and are 4-3 in the ACC, putting them tied for second in the Coastal Division standings. Against Pitt, Duke led 7-3, trailed 13-7, led 14-13 and trailed 20-14 at the half. The deficit was 28-14 early in the fourth quarter before the Blue Devils scored a pair of touchdowns, the last coming with 47 seconds to play. Duke went for two on both touchdowns and came up empty, sending them to defeat. The Blue Devils held a 353-310 edge in total offense, picked up 18 first downs while allowing 16 and held a 33:50 to 26:10 advantage in time of possession. Both teams turned the ball over twice, though one of Duke’s giveaways was a scoop-six that gave Pitt a 28-14 lead.
On the year, the Blue Devils are 76th in the nation in passing offense with 222.4 yards per game and 37th in rushing offense as they grind out 191 yards per contest on the ground. Duke is 35th in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up an average of 33 points per contest while the team is 34th in scoring defense by allowing 22.1 points per game. Riley Leonard is 202 of 322 for 2,403 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions with a team-leading 621 yards plus 11 scores on the ground. Henry Belin IV is five of six passing for 43 yards in limited action. Jordan Waters (116 carries, 557 yards, eight TD), Jaquez Moore (61 carries, 403 yards, four TD) and Jaylen Coleman (83 carries, 390 yards, four TD) have all had success in the ground game. Jordan Moore leads the team with 49 receptions for 567 yards and four scores this season. Jalon Calhoun (45 catches, 637 yards, three TD), Eli Pancol (21 grabs, 335 yards) and Sahmir Hagans (19 receptions, 229 yards, three TD) are the only other players with more than 200 receiving yards on the year. Charlie Ham has hit all 29 extra point attempts and nine of 15 field goal tries with a long of 45 on the year. Todd Pellino has hit all 16 extra point attempts and three of four field goals with a long of 39 on the season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Duke has played better than expected this season in Mike Elko’s first year as the head coach with the program. With that said, the Blue Devils might have a tough time trying to contain Hartman and the explosive Wake Forest offense. Duke has surrendered 254.5 yards per game and 22 scores through the air this season though the defense has generated 23 takeaways this season. One thing we’ve seen with the Demon Deacons is a penchant for turning the ball over: they had eight giveaways in a loss to Louisville earlier this season. If Wake Forest protects the ball as they did against Syracuse, they can be tough to beat. Look for Hartman to play some of his best ball of the season to carry the Demon Deacons to a Tobacco Road win.
Full-Game Total Pick
Wake Forest has stayed under the number in six of their 11 games this season. The Demon Deacons have played only four road games this season, splitting them in relation to the total. Duke has seen the total go 5-5-1 in their 11 games on the year. The Blue Devils have seen the under go 2-2-1 in their five home games this season. In their game against an offense that is the most similar in production to Wake Forest, Duke lost 38-35 at home to North Carolina back on October 15. While the potential for that kind of offensive fireworks is out there, the Blue Devils have been pretty solid defensively this season. This game ends up a couple of points short of the total.