The no. 19 Wake Forest Demon Deacons will try to keep their ACC title hopes alive this week as they hit the road to face the Virginia Tech Hokies. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 9 at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia. Fans can find the game on the ACC Network.
Wake Forest is currently listed as a 2-point favorite on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 64 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 11 college football schedule and betting odds for every game.
After mostly close wins this season, the Demon Deacons finally had an easy game last week. Wake Forest disposed of longtime rival NC State 44-10 last week to improve to 7-1 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. To date, their only setback has been a wild 62-59 loss to Louisville. That keeps the Demon Deacons alive in the ACC Atlantic race ahead of next week’s game with Clemson. If Wake can win this week, next week’s game with the Tigers could serve in a play-in game for the ACC title games. Of course, after playing their last three games at home, the Demon Deacons are on the road for three of their final four games, so they shouldn’t be taking any game for granted.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame a week ago. The Hokies, who went to South Bend riding a three-game winning streak, had the Fighting Irish on the ropes. However, the Tech defense conceded an 87-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes, allowing the Irish to take a 21-20 lead with less than 30 seconds left. The loss keeps Virginia Tech one win shy of extending their consecutive bowl streak to 27 years. At the same time, the Hokies are still in the running for the ACC Coastal division title. At 2-2 in ACC play, Virginia Tech can play their way into the ACC Championship Game with every other team in the Coastal division having at least two losses as well. However, there will be no margin of error for the Hokies if they lose at home this week.
Oddly enough, this will be the first time Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have met on the football field since 2014 when the legendary Frank Beamer was still coaching the Hokies. That game was scoreless after regulation with the Demon Deacons winning 6-3 in overtime. However, that was Wake’s only win over the Hokies since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004. Somehow, this is only the sixth game between these two schools as conference foes and only the second time the Demon Deacons are making the trip to Blacksburg in 15 years.
I’ve been hesitant to buy into Wake Forest as a top-25 team this year, but I’m a little more convinced after last week’s blowout of NC State. I do worry a little about the Demon Deacons looking ahead toward Clemson next week. But I think Dave Clawson runs a good program and can keep his team focused on the task at hand. With the line only at two points, I’ll put some trust in Wake Forest to win by a field goal on the road.
I don’t know what got into Virginia Tech’s defense last week against Notre Dame, but it’s not been the norm this year. The Hokies have given up at least 35 points in each of their four ACC games. That makes it hard to believe that keeping the Notre Dame offense in check for nearly 60 minutes was anything but an aberration. Keep in mind the outcome of the game would have been much different if not for a 98-yard fumble return by the Hokies. Virginia Tech has been particularly vulnerable through the air this season, which means the Wake Forest offense could give them trouble.
After missing a little time with a shoulder injury, Wake quarterback Jamie Newman returned in a big way against NC State, throwing for 287 yards and three touchdowns. On the season, Newman has 20 touchdown passes to just five interceptions and is averaging over eight yards per pass. The Wake Forest wide receivers have perhaps been the biggest surprise for the Demon Deacons this year. Sage Surratt, Scotty Washington, and Kendall Hinton have become a formidable trio that I think will have a big game against the Hokies.
On the other side of the ball, Virginia Tech continues to have concerns at quarterback. Quincy Patterson started last week after starting the season third on the depth chart. While he adds a running threat and did enough to keep the Hokies competitive with Notre Dame, the freshman has struggled as a passer in his limited action. Patterson completed just nine of his 28 passes against the Irish, leading the Hokies to only one offensive touchdown. Even with Patterson’s legs, Virginia Tech’s rushing attack is average at best, so I’m not expecting a huge point total from the Hokies this week.
Barring another out of character performance by the Virginia Tech defense, I think the Demon Deacons will win this game comfortably. I expect Newman and the Wake passing game to have a big day. Meanwhile, I think it’ll be tough for the Virginia Tech offense to keep pace. Unless they look past the Hokies, Wake Forest should win and cover with ease.