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League : NCAAF

WAKE FOREST vs VIRGINIA Prediction & Preview



#121 University of Virginia
Cavaliers -2.5
#122 Wake Forest University
Demon Deacons 2.5

Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 4:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports



Virginia (1-2 ACC) takes on Wake Forest (0-2 ACC) in a conference battle on Saturday from Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons have yet to defeat an FBS team and have not played since Oct. 2, when they crushed Campbell 66-14.

The Cavs are coming off a 38-21 loss at home against NC State on Oct. 10. These teams have not met since 2016 when the Demon Deacs defeated UVA 27-20 at home.


Defensive issues

Virginia was a 7-point favorite against NC State, and they allowed 38 points in the defeat. Part of the issue is getting off to a good start. The Cavs have been outscored 34-0 in the first quarter this season, including falling behind 14-0 last Saturday at home. The offense didn't help the defense, contributing four turnovers, including two interceptions from quarterback Brennan Armstrong. Unfortunately for the Cavs, Armstrong suffered a concussion and is in concussion protocol. He was replaced during the NC State game by Lindell Stone, who completed 30 of 54 for three TDs and one pick. WhenArmstrongwas replaced in the second quarter, the Cavs were already down 24-0. Stone helped bring the game within 10, but he couldn't overcome it.


They never got the running game going against the Wolfpack, rushing for just 82 yards on 29 carries. Defensively, they allowed 179 rushing yards, and that was the difference along with the turnovers.

On the season, the Cavs are averaging 424 yards per game and 285 yards passing (20th). They are struggling to run the ball (139ypc) and average 27.3 points per game (52nd). Wayne Taulapapa leads the ground game with 177 yards and two TDs. Armstrong has struggled this season, completing just 55.7% of his passes for 596 yards with five TDS and six picks.

On defense, they allow 390.3 yards per game overall and 266.3 passing yards (53), which is a concern.


Something to prove

Wake Forest put up 574 yards of total offense two weeks ago, but it came against FCS Campbell. In their last game against FBS competition on Sept. 19, they lost at NC State 45-42. In that game, they amassed 385 yards but allowed 467. Quarterback Sam Hartman has been solid but unspectacular thus far. He's completing 63% of his passes for 584 yards with two TDs and zero picks in three games. Offensively, this is a young team with only three returning starters, and it has shown in the early part of the season. They rely on the running back tandem of Kenneth Walker III and Christian Beal-Smith, who have combined to run for 405 yards and eight TDs.


“I think it was just getting a lot of younger guys they were getting their feet wet,” receiver Taylor Morin said onjournalnow.com. “There were a lot of guys playing in their first collegiate games against Clemson, N.C. State and Campbell, so we could reflect on what we’ve done and what we need to do for our upcoming ACC game."

The defense has more experience, and they've played decently at times. The big issue is getting off the field on third downs as their opponents convert 52.3% of third-down opportunities. They allow 462 yards per game and 270.3 passing yards (54th). They do average 429.7 yards per game and 268 passing yards.

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