When: 12:00 p.m. (EST)
Where: BB&T Field
Line: Duke by 7
With a trip to the ACC Championship in its sights, Duke cannot take Wake Forest lightly. This has the makings of a trap game, although Duke has enough leadership where hopefully that will not be an issue. For some odd reason, every time these teams square off it is always a tight game. I expect more of the same on Saturday. The major key to this game will be whether or not Wake can keep up and score with the Blue Devils.
The Demon Deacons are led by senior quarterback Tanner Price, who has had a decent year with 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. They lost a key member of not only their offense but their whole team in wide receiver Michael Campenero. Known around Winston Salem as the best receiver in school history, losing him for the season is a huge blow for an already weak offensive team. Nose guard Nikita Whitlock is an absolute beast and the best player on Wake’s team. He may be a little small but he has a motor that never stops running and will outwork his opponent every single time. He was 2nd team All-ACC last season and that was on one good ankle!
Duke comes into Saturday on a high, having beaten Miami and Virginia Tech with its eyes squarely on Charlotte. Everyone on the team has had their small moment and part in those huge wins, and the Blue Devils seem to be clicking on all cylinders at the exact perfect time. Quarterbacks Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette have been a lethal combination, with Boone leading the team down the field and Connette punching it in. The wide receivers and running backs have made timely plays while the offensive line has given Boone extensive time to throw the ball in the pocket. Another big part of the win against Miami was the fact that Duke didn’t turn the ball over. This had been a problem the previous two games with 4 turnovers against both Virginia Tech and NC State. The defense, led by Ross Cockrell, has improved drastically since game one. I used to never believe in the defense and is honestly why I picked Miami to beat them last week, and thankfully they continue to prove me wrong. This is a fun Duke team to watch and us Duke fans have not been able to say that in a long, long time.
Duke and Wake isn’t a huge rivalry, but they are in the same state in the hatred they have for each other is well documented. Wake has had no big wins all season and they have losses to teams such as UL-Monroe, so the Blue Devils should be able to handle them easily. If the Blue Devils do not overlook them and play good football, which I believe they will, this game should not be too difficult. I see Duke winning this game 34-20.