The Demon Deacons fired defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel on Sunday after the team was torched for 97 points over their previous two games combined. The defense has surrendered 10 touchdowns of at least 20 yards through the first four games, while allowing 484 yards of total offense to opposing teams. The team promoted defensive analyst Tim Gilmore to a full-time coaching position and will split other defensive responsibilities among the remaining staff, head coach Dave Clawson announced.
Rice competing, but can’t put it all together
Rice hung around until halftime for the third straight week, but couldn’t put together a full 60 minutes of football against Southern Miss, falling by the score of 40-22. Shawn Stankavage completed 13 of 26 passes for 125 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions on the night, as the Owls were forced to abandon their ground game after falling behind by multiple scores. Austin Waler led the team in rushing with six carries for 81 yards and a touchdown, but the team wasn’t about to generate much outside of his 62-yard touchdown run. Rice allowed 428 yards passing on the night, continuing a trend of horrific pass defense so far this season.
They’ve allowed at least 319 yards passing in each of their three losses this year and come into this game allowing 500.5 yards of total offense per game. The Owls are scoring 27.2 points per game on offense, but allowing 39 per game on the defensive side of the ball. Their only win this season came against lowly Prairie View A&M and the Owls needed a 12-0 fourth quarter to squeak out a three-point win.
Wake Forest fires defensive coordinator after loss to ND
The Demon Deacons (2-2) squandered an opportunity to prove that they had taken a step in the right direction on Saturday, falling to Notre Dame 56-27. Wake Forest actually ran the ball pretty effectively against Notre Dame, pounding the rock 61 times for 259 yards, but ineffective passing on first down and poor pass protection prevented the offense from moving the ball down the field. Freshman Sam Hartman was running for his life all night against the Fighting Irish, completing just 12 of 24 passes for 110 yards before he exited after taking a hard hit midway through the third. He apparently suffered no lingering injuries though and should be in line for the start once again in this game. Jamie Newman took over for Hartman late in the game, using his size and athleticism to rus for 73 yards and a score, but threw for just 29 yards and an interception in his time at quarterback.
The silver lining for Wake Forest? The emergence of Kendall Hinton. Hinton showed some promise at wide receiver and lineup up for just one snap at quarterback — when backup Jamie Newman’s helmet came off — and wound up running 23 yards for a touchdown. He showed game-breaking speed and elusiveness, which means he should be a factor in this offense whether he’s lined up out wide or behind center.
Wake Forest comes into this game scoring 33.8 points per game on offense while allowing 33.5 points on the other end of the field. While the offense struggled last week, they should be able to get what they want against a Rice team that is allowing 500.5 yards of total offense per game, including 328 through the air.
- Demon Deacons are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
- Demon Deacons are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
- Demon Deacons are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Over is 4-0 in Owls last 4 games overall.
- Over is 4-0-1 in Owls last 5 non-conference games.
- Over is 3-0-1 in Owls last 4 games in September.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Rice has competed this season and Wake Forest’s defense has been able to get any stops over the last two weeks. The Owls haven’t lost by three touchdowns in any of their games this season and they’ve put up at least 22 points in every contest so far. That would mean Wake Forest would have to put up at least 47 points to get the win — and that’s if their defense holds. While I think the Demon Deacons’ offense is going to bounce back in a big way this week, I don’t think they have enough stops in them to cover the spread at home in this cupcake matchup versus Rice on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Rice +25.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Wake Forest has not been able to get stops over the last couple of weeks. They’ve allowed 97 points over their past two games, while Rice hasn’t been much better, giving up at least 40 points in three consecutive contests. The Owls have given up at least 319 yards passing in each of their losses and they could be in trouble here against a dangerous Demon Deacons’ wide receiving corps. Look for this game to go over the projected total on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Over 67
Half-Time Side Pick
Sam Hartman should be good to go for Wake Forest after putting up the worst game of his young career last week. Rice has given up a ton of passing yards this season and the Demon Deacons a ton of playmakers on the outside. Greg Dortch is going to present a whole new subset of problems for this Owls defense, but also look for Kendall Hinton to get some increased reps this week after he looked explosive at wide receiver. I don’t expect Wake Forest’s protection issues to come into play against this Rice front seven, so I’m rolling with Wake Forest to cover the first half spread in this matchup on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Wake Forest -17
Half-Time Total Bet
Neither of these teams has been able to show up and get stops on a consistent basis over the last few weeks. The defenses combine to give up 986 yards of total offense, so don’t expect many punts in this game. Rice has struggled to defend the pass and the Demon Deacons will be eager to put their true freshman quarterback in a position to succeed after he got knocked around last week. The Owls should also be able to move the ball in this one and they are averaging 27.3 points per game coming into this contest. Look for this game to go over the projected halftime total on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Over 35