With a renewed confidence in the offense thanks to a tremendous final 20 minutes at the end of last week’s victory over Virginia Tech, NC State is set to host rival Wake Forest and their potent offensive attack. The series has largely been dominated by the home team of late, with the Demon Deacons taking 9 of the last 10 matchups in Winston-Salem and the Wolfpack taking 8 of the last 10 meetings in Raleigh.
For State, the main question will be around the performance of true freshman M.J. Morris. The Georgia native will be making his first career collegiate start, the first true freshman to do so for State since some guy named Philip Rivers. How well Morris can run the offense - and how much the Wolfpack coaches trust him to do so - will dictate whether State’s offense can take the pressure off the Pack’s superb defense and keep pace with the Deacons offense.
The game is set to air on replay Sunday at 4:00pm at the local K&W in Winston-Salem so QB Sam Hartman’s former Wake Forest freshman classmates can watch since the 8:00pm Saturday kickoff will be after the large majority of them are asleep. The main question those gold-and-black clad fans will be asking themselves is whether the Wake Forest offense can bounce back from an 8-turnover performance last week in a dreadful loss to Louisville.
Will Morris and the Wolfpack prove that last week’s victory was no fluke and that an exceptional season still lies ahead? Or will the Demon Deacons rebound from a moribund performance a week ago to right themselves back on the path towards a potential 10-win season?
Each BTP contributor provides their score prediction below, plus a quick blurb on their predicted outcome. Here we go!
Prediction: 28-27 (W)
Comment: “beep boop“
Prediction: 24-31 (L)
Comment: “I feel like I’m being disrespectful to our own defense, but it is so difficult to think about this matchup without a sense of dread staining it.”
Prediction: 24-38 (L)
Comment: “I don’t like this matchup at all for a number of reasons. Wake will be able to move the ball and I expect some ups from Morris but enough downs that it’s unable to keep pace. If State can force some turnovers and create some short fields, maybe, but if not, I don’t know. . .”
Why is this so hard?
Prediction: 23-31 (L)
Comment: “I’ve picked a W every week, so this is the juju we need to overcome the WtFU curse. You’re welcome.”
Prediction: 24-37 (L)
Comment: “Just too much firepower to keep up with. Hartman bounces back after a career worst game last week. MJ does his best but he’s not there yet.”
Prediction: 31-28 (W)
Comment: “Hartman feels like “The Nature Boy” of the ACC, unique style (of offense), firey, never retires...he worries me to no end, especially after that UofL game...BUT I think the coaches & players are more motivated for this game than any other this year but Clemson. The Carter at night? Magic happens”
Prediction: 20-31 (L)
Comment: “Wake played so bad against Louisville and that’s what scares me more than anything. I think the Pack is going to be facing an angry Deac squad at a time where State is still remaking their offense.”
Prediction: 30-34 (L)
Comment: “Can’t bank on another 8 turnover performance by WF, can’t bank on Morris continuing the last 20 minutes against VT. Wake is better at converting scoring opps to TDs; that’s the difference.”
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 26-32 (L)
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!