Time: 6 PM CST
Spread: DUK -19
Betting odds c/o Bovada
Things were honky dory in Chapel Hill up until, oh, about the last two weeks. Duke had compiled a 4-1 ACC record and were 8-1 overall, and then came the losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina. The Blue Devils will try to wrap up ACC play on a strong note against a weak Wake Forest team that is 19 point underdogs to Duke in college football odds listed on Bovada.
What’s troubling for Duke is that it was demolished thoroughly last week by UNC, falling 45-20. The reason was fairly easy to comprehend: Marquise Williams of UNC went bonkers. The QB threw for 276 yards and rushed for an additional 98 yards, part of UNC’s 592 total yards in the contest. Despite a decent game from Anthony Boone, Duke had no counter for that. Boone threw 22-of-40 for 262 yards and two TDs, but threw an INT, one of Duke’s three turnovers in the game.
What’s made Duke a successful program is the development of its defense. The Blue Devils’ offensive improvement had been apparent in recent seasons, but this year Duke is holding opponents to just 20.5 points per game. Even against a tough Georgia Tech team on Oct 11, the Blue Devils held the Yellow Jackets to 25 points, a true testament to the team’s improvement on “D.”
Duke’s offense remains strong, too, of course. The Blue Devils are scoring 31.7 points per game, and there’s been a lot of balance in the attack. Duke ranks 46th in the nation in rushing yards per game (186.6) while still putting together a formidable pass attack to keep teams guessing (207.8 yards per game in the air).
Anthony Boone hasn’t been the hallmark of awesome, but he’s a capable QB and he keeps his INTs down well enough to promote Duke’s attack. Boone has thrown for 2,232 yards on the season, and his biggest detractors are that he is good for just 56.5 percent of his attempts with a very humble 5.71 yards per reception.
It’s the backfield that has kept Duke going, to be true. Shaun Wilson, Shaquille Powell, Josh Snead and Boone have all been successful running the football. Wilson boasts an 8.2 yard per carry average while having accounted for four TDs, and short-yardage back Thomas Sirk leads the team in rushing TDs with eight. Collectively, Duke has rushed for over 2,000 yards this season and 21 TDs.
Wake Forest found a way to snap its six-game losing streak last week in a 6-3 double OT thriller against Virginia Tech. It is about the only way Wake could win, considering the Demon Deacons average just 14.3 points per game this season, while allowing 25.1 per contest. The game was scoreless through regulation, and Wake won it on a 39 yard field goal in the second over time. Mike Weaver won Player of the Game, since he nailed both FGs to give fans exactly what they came for.