Despite the first ACC game coming a little earlier than usual, the Orange dodged a bullet by matching up with Wake Forest at home, the only team presumed to be worse than SU in preseason polls. The Deamon Deacons also won their first game of the season, knocking off FCS Elon 41-3 in week one.
Last week, Wake put up huge numbers on the offensive side of the ball, tallying 591 total yards headlined by 388 through the air. The biggest threat to SU is Wake’s quarterback, John Wolford. Last week, he completed 20-of-27 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
The sophomore played briefly in these teams’ matchup last season, but he left the game in the second quarter. After that point, the Demon Deacons were only able to muster 68 yards of total offense, further proving how important Wolford is to the team’s success. The SU defense led the way in the 30-7 win, snatching a pick-six and returning a fumble for a touchdown.
Wake Forest is a great matchup for the Orange in week two for a couple reasons. First, like Rhode Island, the Demon Deacons have an awful offense. Last season, the team scored only 178 points over the course of 12 games, which was their lowest scoring output since 1996. The team also failed to win a road game last year. While the competition improves a little bit this week, it shouldn’t be a problem at all for the defensive unit that pitched a shutout last week. Expect the Orange to pressure Wolford often, who took 55 sacks last season.
While the defense will be happy to feast on another weak offense, the Wake Forest defense is much better than Rhode Island’s, which will help fans and the coaching staff see what true-freshman Eric Dungey is all about. Wake returns six of its front seven from last season, which will test the offensive line. In the secondary, the Deacs return both safeties but no starting cornerbacks. So, Dungey will have to get rid of the ball quicker than he did last week and will have to show off his throwing ability more frequently against a better rush defense.
Overall, expect the Orange to come out on top again on Saturday. Wake Forest, while better than Rhode Island, is not a juggernaut by any means. The defense should heavily limit the Demon Deacon’s scoring while the offense will hopefully improve with a full week of practice as the starter under Dungey’s belt.
Prediction: Syracuse 27, Wake Forest 13