Syracuse vs. Wake Forest prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Orange and Demon Deacons on Saturday in Winston-Salem, NC.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Orange are coming off a 50-33 loss to Notre Dame, which saw quarterback DeShone Kizer light up the ‘Cuse secondary to the tune of a career-best 471 yards. It was another tough day for a ‘Cuse defense that was very generous to Lamar Jackson and Louisville. But growing pains were expected because it’s a unit that is very young.
Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons could not get past NC State last week, as Dave Clawson’s squad suffered its first loss of the year. Despite boasting a defense that ranked No. 12 nationally against the run and No. 20 in scoring defense, the Demon Deacons allowed the Wolfpack to gain 527 total yards. It was the third straight season that the ‘Pack beat Wake by double-digit margins.
In last year’s contest between the Orange and Demon Deacons, Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey made his first career start and connected with Brisly Estime on an 89-yard touchdown pass in a 30-17 victory. Syracuse has won four straight meetings dating back to the 2011 season.
What To Know About Syracuse
Dungey passed for 363 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three scores in the loss to the Irish, so he is getting more and more comfortable in the offense that Dino Babers brought over from Bowling Green. There is no question that the defense will give up its fair share of yards and points, but Orange fans at least have a reason to be excited about their football team again. And Estime is a big part of that excitement, as he had a 74-yard return late in the first half that setup a touchdown and later added a 38-yard return against the Irish.
What to Know About Wake Forest
John Wolford threw for 263 yards and a touchdown in the loss to NC State, but the Demon Deacons struggled in the red zone. Settling for field goals too often usually leads to losses, and that’s exactly what happened against the ‘Pack. One big bright spot for the Wake Forest offense, though, was the play of Tabari Hines, who caught the lone touchdown against the ‘Pack and finished with career highs of nine catches for 125 yards. The sophomore from South Carolina entered last week’s game with just eight catches for 101 yards on the season.
Offense: Syracuse. It still appears that Wake Forest has to work extra hard offensively to properly complement its strong defense.
Defense: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will look to bounce back from its tough outing against the Wolfpack, but it won’t be easy against the ‘Cuse offense.
Special Teams: Syracuse. Estime’s returns last week did not please Brian Kelly and the Irish.
Coaching: Even. Clawson is finally seeing his solid recruiting classes pay dividends, while Babers has at least excited the fan base early in his first season.
Intangibles: Syracuse. The Orange may have lost to Notre Dame, but the offense can be potent. And Babers knows that this is a winnable road game.
Matchup To Watch
Estime vs. Wake Forest punt coverage team
The senior receiver from Florida is most valuable to the Orange as a punt returner. Babers has said in the past that he didn’t think Estime needed to return all of the punts for Syracuse because he wants to keep him fresh on offense. But seeing what he did against the Irish showed once again how valuable he can be on special teams. He could be an x-factor this week, especially because Wake’s defense is solid and ‘Cuse may need to depend on its special teams for better field position. Freshman Sean Riley had handled the majority of returns over the last two weeks before the ND game, but I expect to see more Estime moving forward.
Spread: Wake Forest -3
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest Prediction
This is a road game that a team under a first-year head coach can steal. Wake Forest’s defense will be stingy at first and make things difficult for Dungey and Co., but Babers and his staff will make some key second-half adjustments, and one fourth-quarter ‘Cuse scoring drive will be the difference.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest Score Prediction: Syracuse 27, Wake Forest 23