Preview: Wake Forest at Duke
7:00 PM ET
Saturday, November 29
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 108 and XM Ch 193
Duke in 2014: 8-3
Wake Forest in 2014: 3-8
OUT – Alonzo Saxton II (CB)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE), Jake Kite (S)
WAKE FOREST INJURIES
Not available at this time.
Duke and Wake Forest last faced each other on November 23, 2013 in a game Duke won 28-21 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem. Duke is coming off a 45-20 loss to North Carolina, while Wake Forest defeated Virginia Tech 6-3 in double overtime.
HOW DUKE CAN WIN
On offense, Duke must value the ball. After turning the ball over six times the past two games, the Blue Devils need to return to playing mistake free football. Wake Forest has a solid defense with good speed on the edges so it is imperative Duke's offensive line has a strong game at the line of scrimmage so the Blue Devils can establish the running game. Duke has played their best football in games where the run game clicked. In eight wins Duke has averaged 213 yards rushing, while in the three losses the number dropped to 114 yards.
Wake Forest linebacker Brandon Chubb (#48) is one player the Duke offense must account for on every play as he has a nose for the ball. Strong safety Ryan Janvion (#22) is fourth in the ACC with 104 tackles. Cornerback Kevin Johnson (#9) has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl.
On defense, Duke will look to harass true freshman quarterback John Wolford (#10) into making mistakes. Wake Forest has a woeful running game averaging only 37.7 yards per game. It is imperative the Blue Devils exploit this weakness in order to place Wolford into frequent must pass situations where he will be primed to make mistakes resulting in turnovers. Wolford has thrown 14 interceptions on the year.
Wake Forest likes to throw the ball to TE Cam Serigne (#85) who leads the Demon Deacons in receptions with 48. Duke's defense must keep track of Serigne especially when blitzing. Wide receiver E.J. Scott (#17) is Wake's second leading receiver with 47 receptions.
HOW DUKE CAN LOSE
If Duke fails to run the ball, they will lose. Offensive balance has been the key to success for Duke in 2014 so the Blue Devils cannot afford to allow Wake Forest to force them into a one-dimensional passing offense. The offensive line and running backs must find a way to achieve success on the ground against the tough Demon Deacons defense, which is ranked number 10 in the nation in fewest passing yards allowed.
If Duke fails to value the ball, they will lose. Duke has turned the ball over six times during the current two game losing streak. Quarterback and team leader Anthony Boone must rebound from subpar performances the previous two weeks with a strong game in his final appearance at Wallace Wade Stadium.
WHY DUKE WILL WIN
The Blue Devils will be motivated to finish the regular season on a high note by securing their ninth victory in 2014 and third straight in the series with Wake Forest. Duke will be focused on the task at hand rather than distracted by ACC Championship Game and Orange Bowl aspirations. Duke will win because the seniors will have the team inspired to leave it all on the field Saturday night.
It is gut check time for the Duke Blue Devils! After back-to-back losses, will the team snap back and play the mistake free football their success has been built upon? Or will they remain mired in the turnover fed slump of the past two weeks? Those questions have to be answered on the field; however, my money is on Duke winning in convincing fashion.
Duke 24, Wake Forest 13