Wake Forest comes off a bye week and heads to Atlanta to face off with an ACC foe, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Game time from Bobby Dodd Stadium is set for 7:30 EST, with the Jackets looking to rebound after a close loss to Miami. This matchup can be seen on ESPNU.
The Yellow Jackets lost a heartbreaker in the south Florida rain, but still came away with yet another spread win (5-0 ATS), and earned a lot more respect around the ACC. This Paul Johnson-group is always playing the spoiler, but they’re legitimately one of the more talented teams in the conference.
Even after the dismissal of top ACC running back Dedrick Mills, Tech’s triple option is still working wonders. KirVonte Benson (5.7 YPC) is day-to-day, but an update on his playing status will come Thursday. The Jackets have plenty of other options on the ground, from QB TaQuon Marshall, to RB Clinton Lynch (9.3).
Wake Forest nearly pulled an upset three weeks ago against FSU, and then had to face Clemson the week after. Their bye is over, and they’re refreshed with a promising group of receivers led by Greg Dortch, and a dual-threat QB in John Wolford.
Their defense has shined even brighter, a top-15 squad in points allowed. Duke Ejiofor has been the hammer for them, with three sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss. Still, Wake comes in as 6 ½-point underdogs, with the over/under set at 47 ½ points.
Coming off such a loss might deter a lot of teams for the next weekend. But Paul Johnson’s group has done well staying focused from game-to-game since he started there. Even with the rain, Georgia Tech was talked about for their upset potential all week, and Miami knew exactly the chances of such a defeat. Still, Tech showed it simply could hang with them talent-wise.
Wake Forest may not be able to quite do the same here. Sure, they nearly beat FSU, but it was when the Seminoles QB position was shaky and they weren’t playing like a unit. Wolford is definitely talented, and running on the Yellow Jackets can be done, as witnessed last week by the Hurricanes (184 yards on 36 carries). Yet, Tech is still 26th in the country against it, and hadn’t been taken to the woodshed like that since the Tennessee game to start the season.
The Demon Deacons probably don’t have that same caliber of offensive line. Wake’s rushing stats as a whole (1,094 yards, 4.1 YPC) are typical at best, and there’s only been one above-average passing performance against Georgia Tech this season. They’re 22nd in the country in that category.
While the Demon Deacons rely on their defensive prowess, Georgia Tech will be the best run team they’ve played. And that’s counting Clemson and FSU. They nearly have seven different players contributing 100 yards on the ground, and each of the running backs has 5.7 YPC or over. If Benson plays, as he should, then Wake will go through the same issues every other team has this season against the Jackets. Miami was the only team able to halfway contain them, and they still only won by a point.
Watch for Georgia Tech to slowly grind Wake with the ground game and take yet another spread.