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Advanced Stat Preview: Wake Forest

Eventually we’re going to blow someone out, right? Why not Wake Forest? They aren’t a particularly good team based on record and stats, but that hasn’t stopped us from playing down to an opponent before. We should win this game big based on the talent advantage, season track record, and for all things good and decent. I don’t want an interesting or exciting game, please.


If Syracuse has a good rush defense per S&P+ (ranked 21st prior to the game), Wake Forest is bad with a rank of 97. Their passing defense isn’t particularly good either, ranking 52nd, giving their overall defense a ranking of 84. They will need to blitz to bring pressure, which we should expect of each team the rest of the year. Trevor Lawrence will destroy you if you allow him to sit in a clean pocket. Bring pressure and he has trouble finding his check downs. Watch to see how fast Lawrence learns identifying where pressure is coming from, when he needs to get rid of the ball, and where he needs to go with the ball. Shed a tear imagining that offense.

They have some good players. Their DTs, Willie Yarbary and Zeek Rodney, are disruptive with 10 TFL between them. DE Carlos Basham is a load at 6’5”, 270 lbs. with 2 sacks and 3 TFL. CB Essang Bassey has good ball skills with 6 PBU’s and 1 INT on the season, but is also their leading tackler. A CB should not be your leading tackler. Expect to hear his name a lot on Saturday and it may not be a good thing for Wake.


Offensively, QB Sam Hartman is a true freshman who enrolled early. He’s passing for 6.6 yards per attempt with a completion rate of 57.9%. He’s going to Greg Dortch on 39% of his targets, who is catching 70% of them for 8.7 yards per target. Their next best receiver is Sage Surratt, who is targeted 21% of the time for 8.0 yards per target and a completion rate of 54%. Dortch is 5’9” and Surratt is 6’3”. Dortch is their go-to guy but they will take intermediate and downfield shots with Surratt. Their rushing attack is FBS average. Hartman will run to move the chains.

This should be a boring game where our backups get a lot of experience. We’re due for a big win; it’s been a game since we had one. Let’s get a lead early and use Wake for practice.


Stats via Bill Connelly’s S&P+ Profiles

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