Duke (3-1) at Wake Forest (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 12:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: BB&T Field (31,500) -- Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Duke 3-0, WF 3-0. Away Record: Duke 0-1, WF 0-1. Neutral Record: Duke 0-0, WF 0-0. Conference Record: Duke 0-0, WF 1-1. Series Record: Duke leads, 53-37-2.
GAME NOTES: Tobacco Road rivals are set to square off, as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons host the Duke Blue Devils in an Atlantic Coast Conference clash at BB&T Field.
Duke holds a 53-37-2 series edge. However, Wake Forest has won 12 straight meetings with the Blue Devils dating back to the 1999 campaign.
This marks the league opener for the Blue Devils, whose only loss thus far came on the road against eighth-ranked Stanford on Sept. 8. They followed up that setback with home wins over NC Central (54-17) and Memphis (38-14). Duke will make the short trip back to campus to host Virginia next Saturday.
Wake Forest has already played two ACC games; a comeback win over North Carolina on Sept. 8 and a 52-0 loss at fourth-ranked Florida State the following week. The Demon Deacons were able to rebound from that setback with a 49-37 triumph over Army this past Saturday. It marked their second straight game without a turnover.
Duke features a pass-heavy attack on offense, as the team ranks 17th nationally in passing offense (315.5 ypg) but only 105th in rushing (112.8 ypg). Redshirt senior quarterback Sean Renfree has completed an efficient 70.7 percent of his passes, averaging 269.5 ypg through the air. Renfree has thrown for nine touchdowns and four interceptions through four games. Conner Vernon (100 receiving ypg) and Jamison Crowder (91.8 re. ypg) share the team-lead with 29 catches apiece, and that duo has combined for five TD grabs. The Blue Devils have not completely neglected the run, they just have not been successful. Jela Duncan leads the team with 153 yards on 20 carries (7.7 ypc).
Over the last two games, Duke has given up just 17 and 14 points, respectively. The defense completely shut the door on Memphis last weekend, holding the Tigers to a mere 152 yards of total offense and one offensive touchdown. The Blue Devils really buckled down in critical situations, limiting Memphis to a 1-of-11 success rate on third down. They also notched four sacks and totaled six tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Walt Canty leads the way with 34 tackles on the season, while Ross Cockrell has already amassed three interceptions and seven pass breakups.
A week after being shutout by Florida State, the Demon Deacons beat Army at its own game, as they rolled up a season-high 296 yards on the ground. Josh Harris and Deandre Martin each finished with two rushing touchdowns to go along with 129 and 115 yards, respectively. Michael Campanaro caught 12 of Tanner Price's 15 completions for 153 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 31 yards and another score. Campanaro has been a huge weapon for Price, as he ranks among the national leaders with nine receptions and 105 receiving yards per tilt.
Wake Forest's defense came up with a big fourth-down stop late in Saturday's game to thwart an Army drive. Linebackers Justin Jackson and Mike Olson and defensive end Zach Thompson were busy in that contest, combining to make 35 tackles. Still, Army did find some running lanes with its option game against a Demon Deacons defense that currently ranks 117th nationally in run defense (265.5 ypg). The Black Knights finished with 429 yards and four TDs on the ground, with a team average of 5.6 yards per carry. The Demon Deacons also gave up points on all six of Army's drives inside the red zone, including five touchdowns.
After getting a heavy dose of the running game in its last outing, Wake Forest's defense will now be tested through the air. Look for the Demon Deacons to rise to the challenge in front of their home crowd and come up with the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 34, Duke 30
09/26 10:38:36 ET