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Wake Preview

For this week's game, I talked to a friend who is an undergrad at Wake Forest about their team. If I'm horribly inaccurate, I will not hesitate to blame it all on him.

QB Riley Skinner is good, but let's remember that Skinner's TD:INT ratio for his career is 24:18. It's not like the guy is all-world. Last season, he passed for 2200 yards, 12 TDs and 13 INTs. Skinner doesn't kill with big plays. He kills with his skill. Last season, Skinner completed 72% of his passes. That's unbelievable. I would expect Skinner to have very little trouble with our defense, though I'm sure we'll pick him off at least once.

HB Josh Adams rushed for fewer than three yards per carry against Baylor. Something tells me our defensive front is better than Baylor's. Adams had a decent season last season in the ACC (953 rushing yards), but I'm not concerned about him. Redshirt freshman Brandon Pendergrass is someone who has multiple Wake Forest fans excited, though he didn't play well in their game against Baylor, averaging 2.4 ypc. I think that, while Wake is probably going to torch us through the air, we'll be able to contain them on the ground.

At wide receiver, Wake has a bevy of options, but if their game against Baylor is any signal, TE Ben Wooster is the receiver to worry the most about. Wooster caught the ball six times for 90 yards. Luckily, I anticipate that our outside linebackers have sufficient coverage skills to keep Wooster to minimal gains. I still just worry a lot about our secondary. They were certainly better than adequate against Memphis, but I want to see them contain a passing game that isn't poorly built on bubble screens and a situation where they don't have a 24 point lead. Senior DJ Boldin caught seven balls against Baylor, but the Baylor defense held him to thirty three yards on those seven catches. Obviosuly, he can get open, but he doesn't appear to be a threat with the ball after the catch (though I didn't actually see the game).

Wake's offensive line had significant trouble against Baylor. If we had Hardy and Jerry, I would say that we would be able to put real pressure on Skinner and completely bottle thier running game, but without those two, I really worry. I was talking with Ghost of Jay Cutler, and we agreed that if there was ever a game when we needed Jerrell Powe to step up and be the player we hoped for, this is the time. I don't have extensive hopes for Powe's season, but if he could just help us win this one game, it would be worth it. This game is so important. We need this victory to gain momentum heading into vandy and Florida.

On the defensive side of the ball, I wasn't able to get a lot of information from my casual fan friend.

On the defensive line, Wake Forest isn't very big, but they do a good job crashing holes and tackling the ball carrier. They could give us trouble up the middle, but our tackles will certainly dominate their defensive ends. They did a good job against Memphis, and they will be riding a high from their dominant performance against Memphis.

At linebacker, Aaron Curry could give us some trouble in coverage, and his run-stuffing skills are excellent. Seriously, run away from the guy. I'm fine with not throwing the ball to Gerald Harris (who will be the primary player that Curry defends, apparently), but I don't want Mr. Glass Dexter McCluster to get hit by this guy. He didn't know anything else about their linebackers, but a quick visit to Wake's athletic site tells me that Hunter Haynes is another linebacker to be somewhat concerned with. He was second in tackles against Baylor and appears poised for a decent season after being named to the All-ACC freshman team last year.

At cornerback, obviously Alphonso Smith will be trouble for us. Still, he's only one corner. I would hope that we'll just avoid the receiver he covers and not give him chances to get a pick. Brandon Ghee on the other side does a good job wrapping up the ball carrier, but you have to wonder if he'll be able to take down Brandon Bolden. Still, his name is another to keep an ear out for. Out of high school, he reportedly ran a 4.34 (according to his bio on Wake's site). I think that Jevan is going to have to be picky for us to win this game. Wake takes advantage of too many turnovers. If we don't throw any picks, we've got a chance. If we do, we can put this one in the loss column.

Safety Chip Vaughn led the team in tackles last season. That's usually not a good sign, but Wake won nine games last year. I guess he's a playmaker who excels on run defense. I have no factual evidence to back that up.

In the end, while we match up relatively well against them, I'm just not sure that our hopes aren't too high for this team. Remember. We didn't win an SEC game last season.

Prediction: Wake by 7.