Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-3 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1 SU, 7-1 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday, November 4th, 3:30 PM
Where: Notre Dame Stadium
By Mike M., NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WF +13 / ND -13
Over/Under Total: 56.5
Wake Forest heads to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish in a Saturday afternoon showdown at Notre Dame Stadium. This will be the fourth ever meeting between the teams, with the series starting in 2011 and Notre Dame having won all three of the previous matchups, with the most recent being a 28-7 victory two seasons ago. They will continue to play each other in upcoming years, with games already scheduled for 2018 again in South Bend and 2020 at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Both teams enter the game coming off big victories in the previous week, as Notre Dame ran all over NC State at home 35-14 and Wake Forest upset Louisville 42-32. The win for the Demon Deacons was especially important momentum wise, as it ended a three game losing streak after they had started the season 4-0. It also gave them a bit of revenge against the Cardinals, who last season were at the center of the Wakeyleaks scandal in which a former Wake coach leaked their playbook to opposing teams and phone evidence directly linking the culprit to a Louisville coach. Despite playing with a clear disadvantage through multiple games last year, Deacons head coach Dave Clawson was able to lead his team to their first winning season since 2008, while karma has continued to laugh at Louisville and their miserable excuse for a human being head coach Bobby Petrino, who has seen his team disappear from any sort of championship relevancy, losing their last three games of 2016 and than this year starting out ranked in the top 20 only to plummet downward and currently sitting at a disappointing 5-4 record and a lowly 6th place in the ACC Atlantic standings.
The victory against Louisville was a career day for Wake quarterback John Wolford, who threw for 461 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 28 of 34 passes. Wolford has been an entirely different quarterback for the Deacons this season compared to last, so far having put up a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 15/2 and completing 65.7% of his passes, compared to his 2016 numbers that saw him throw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9) and complete only 55% of his throws. The senior signal caller has also been a force on the ground, leading his team in carries, yards and touchdowns with 317 yards and two scores.
Unfortunately for Wolford and Wake fans it was announced on Sunday that his favorite target and leading receiver Greg Dortch will miss the rest of the season due an abdominal injury suffered on Saturday that required immediate surgery that night. Dortch was also the teams kickoff and punt returner, was coming off of a game in which he caught ten passes for 167 yards and a whopping four touchdowns, and was the easily the best of the receiving options having score half their touchdowns through the air (9 of 18) and putting up 722 of Wolfords 1660 passing yards. The team will now have to rely heavily on tight end Cam Sergine, who has scored five touchdowns this year and leads a group of receiving options that contains no one with over 18 catches so far this season, while also hoping running back Matt Colburn can continue his momentum from last week after rushing for a career high 134 yards against Louisville.
Wake Forest will certainly need to find a way to put points up this weekend, going up against Notre Dame team that in their seven victories this season have won every game by at least 20 points and scored 33 points or more in each. The Fighting Irish are also the only team in the country to have beaten three opponents ranked in the top 25, with one of the many reasons contributing to their success the ability to take advantage of others mistakes, as they rank 1st nationally in points off turnovers with 101 and 7th in turnover margin at +11.
While Notre Dame is well rounded on both sides of the ball, the star of the team is no doubt running Josh Adams, who finally got the long overdue Heisman recognition he deserved after running all over and through the Wolfpack last weekend and ending the game with 202 yards on the ground including a 72 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter that was final nail in the NC State coffin on the afternoon. Adams became the quickest Fighting Irish running back in team history to reach the 1000 yards mark in a season, has five times this year run for 100 yards or more in the first half alone and is currently 3rd in the nation in yards per carry (8.9) and fifth in rushing with 1,169 yards. An unheralded part of his success is the dominant offensive line in front of him, including a left side that contains two players (Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey) that are both projected to be taken in the first round of next years NFL Draft.
Adams has not been the only beneficiary of the Irish formidable front five, with quarterback Brandon Wimbush last week breaking an Irish record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback with his 11th, and also joining Tony Rice and Deshone Kizer as the only quarterbacks in Notre Dame history to go over 500 yards rushing and 1000 passing in a season. His passing percentage will never light the world on fire, but his dual threat ability has been and should continue to be a great offset for when opposing teams focus on Josh Adams.
Much has (rightfully) been said about the incredible effect defensive coordinator Mike Elko has had since taking over the position at Notre Dame, and an interesting side note for this game is that he came to the Irish after leading the defense at Wake Forest from 2014-2016. Unlike many coaching transitions, especially any involving Bobby Petrino, Elkos transition from Wake was a cordial one, and it should be an interesting subplot to Saturdays game to see whether the Deacons familiarity with Elko or his with Wake garners the biggest advantage on the day.
Wake Forest put on a show on last weekend against Louisville, but the loss of the multi-dimensional Greg Dortch can not be understated and puts them in a serious hole against a Notre Dame team that already ranks higher than the Demon Deacons in nearly ever major statistical category; offensive scoring (ND-10, Wake-45), defensive scoring (ND-10, Wake-45), total offense (ND-22, Wake-48), total defense (ND-34, Wake-55), rushing offense (ND-6, Wake-57) and rushing defense (ND-16, Wake-89). Adams and the Irish have been rolling since losing 20-19 to Georgia in week two, and I just cant see how Wake can possibly keep up with them on the scoreboard, especially with Dortch gone, and that is why I am confidently picking Notre Dame to get the win and cover against Wake Forest on Saturday in South Bend.
Mike M’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Notre Dame -13. – We care about our readers! And THAT is why we promote the hell out of Intertops! Online since the 90’s, never a payout complaint, 50/100% bonus offers, live betting, fast payouts and the best player loyalty program on the web which gives you points every time you bet. Redeem these points for free bets. It’s continuous. It never expires and there’s no limit to how many rewards you can receive! Get signed up TODAY to start reaping the benefits!