Wake Forest (4-4) at Syracuse (3-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 2, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (49,262) -- Syracuse, New York. Television: RSN. Home Record: Wake Forest 3-1, Syracuse 2-1. Away Record: Wake Forest 1-3, Syracuse 1-2. Neutral Record: Wake Forest 0-0, Syracuse 0-1. Conference Record: Wake Forest 2-3, Syracuse 1-2. Series: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: ACC Atlantic Division rivals are set to square off at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon, as the Syracuse Orange play host to the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe is one win away from breaking the school record for wins, as he currently sits with 77 victories. His squad nearly upset nationally-ranked Miami on the road last week but wound up losing, 24-21, on a touchdown in the final minute. The Demon Deacons, who are 1-3 as the visiting team this season, need to win two of their final four games to become bowl eligible.
Meanwhile, Syracuse is coming off its second bye of the season and will have had a couple of weeks to prepare for this contest. In their most recent game, the Orange suffered a 56-0 rout at the hands of Georgia Tech. While still mathematically eligible for a bowl, another loss would seriously damper the team's postseason hopes.
These teams have met twice prior in the all-time series, which is tied at one win apiece. In 2011, Syracuse overcame a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit to pull out a 36-29 win in overtime.
Wake Forest led Miami for virtually the entire game before the defense yielded a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the deciding score with 53 seconds remaining. Tanner Price completed 25-of-45 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyree Harris posted a game- and career-high 95 receiving yards on six catches before exiting with an injury. Fellow wideout Michael Campanaro finished with 10 catches for 88 yards and a score. Campanaro is the Demon Deacons' all-time receptions leader, and his 65 catches on the year are more than four times anyone else on the team. His 9.3 receptions per game ranks fourth in the FBS, and he leads the ACC with 113.1 receiving yards per game. He has continually demonstrated a sound chemistry with Price, who ranks among the top-10 in school history in virtually every major passing category.
After taking the lead with four minutes remaining against Miami, the onus was on the Wake Forest defense to hold strong, as it had done all game long. However, when it counted most, the Demon Deacons allowed Miami to answer that go-ahead score with a 10-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that soaked up almost all of the remaining time in regulation. Safety Ryan Janvion led all players with a career-high 14 tackles in the loss, but a lot of those tackles came as a result of Miami running back Duke Johnson consistently getting to the second level of the defense. Johnson gashed his way to 168 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while averaging a healthy 5.6 ypc. Nose tackle Nikita Whitlock, who ranks seventh in the FBS in tackles for loss (1.7 per game), did not make any tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Ever since beating up on the likes of Wagner and Tulane in September (106 points combined), Syracuse has averaged just 12.7 points over its last three games. The recent shutout loss at Georgia Tech was no doubt the low point of the season for the offense. SU managed only 10 first downs and 208 yards of total offense, as quarterbacks Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt combined to complete only 13-of-29 passes for 133 yards and two interceptions. In their previous outing, the Orange rallied for two late fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat NC State. They rushed for a season-high 362 yards in that game, but followed it up with a mere 75 rushing yards (2.9 ypc) against the Yellow Jackets.
Simply put, the Orange defense was no match for Georgia Tech's triple-option game, which churned out a staggering 394 yards and seven touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets averaged nearly six yards per carry as a team (5.9), and 22 of their 26 first downs came on the ground. As a result, Tech was able to convert 5-of-8 third downs and won the time of possession battle by more than 15 minutes.
On the season, Syracuse ranks 13th in the nation in third-down percentage defense (33-of-105). Marqez Hodge paced the Orange with a game-high 12 tackles in the loss, all of the solo variety.
Both of these teams had major problems stopping the run the last time out, but neither of these respective offenses boast strong rushing attacks. Look for the Demon Deacons to put forth a little extra effort here in hopes of getting coach Grobe his record-breaking victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 34, Syracuse 24
10/30 10:36:10 ET