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Final Thoughts and Prediction: Boston College vs Wake Forest

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Florida State v Boston College Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Game News and Notes

It’s Senior Day on the Heights, as Boston College (6-5, 2-5) welcomes #21 Wake Forest (9-2, 6-1*) at noon with the Demon Deacons hoping to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division. BC finds itself at the bottom of the division after a rollercoaster season, but bowl-bound with the hopes of finishing off strong. Once undefeated and as high as #10 in the country, Wake has lost two of the past three but still on the cusp of their second ever ACC championship appearance.

The Eagles have a chance to play spoiler here. A win over the Deacs opens the door first for the Wolfpack. If NC State defeats UNC, they’ll secure the crown, otherwise once-dead Clemson goes full Undertaker if they defeat South Carolina. I will continue believing that in my alternate reality, a BC win means they actually take the Atlantic. With better health and continuity, I’ll stand by BC being right in with this hot mess.

The two #rivals were done dirty last season not scheduled against each other, but have met all the others years since 2003. They’ve alternated wins since 2014, with the road team capturing the win in typically close contests. Five of the past six games have been decided by seven or fewer points.

Flu season has hit BC hard this week, even beyond football. 15 players missed practice, with players spanning all sides of the ball. Hafley’s said multiple times this year, that guys need the reps in practice in order to play — not as a rule, but from a preparation standpoint. While we don’t know who or to what extent, this sort of shuffling is not what you want right now.

And finally, a shoutout to Ben Petrula, who will pick up 60th consecutive start for BC, tied for the longest streak in the country.

Injury News

TE Trae Barry was severely limited last week. He was able to practice this week it seems. He’s a huge part of the offense that needs to be available.

NB Josh DeBerry is day-to-day. His ankle injury sidelined him last week, but Hafley is hopeful. *shrug emoji*

DE Shitta Sillah is in the same boat, and no updates on OG Christian Mahogany.

Players to Watch

Pat Garwo is 20 yards away from hitting 1,000 on the season. Wake has allowed 213.7 rushing yards per game. That’s bad for 119th in the country. Clemson, UNC, Syracuse, all ran for over 300 yards against them. Phil and co. can still do their thing when available, and I’m sure he’ll be running a good chunk himself, but BC can play complimentary here. It’s not at a FSU level, but Wake’s pass rush can cause problems again for BC, and they have generated turnovers.

Sam Hartman and the Wake Forest offense play fast, as we’ll get into shortly. They’re explosive and going to score points. BC wants to be balanced, sometimes to a fault as we saw last weekend, but it could fare well to keep the opposing offense out of a rhythm. Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to have to score nearly every possession to win this game, but this could make things more uncomfortable for the way Wake usually plays.

Key players to watch for the Deacons offense are Jaquarii Roberson and AT Perry, both around 1000 yards receiving. Wake has a three-headed rushing attack, all capable players that BC can’t ignore despite the prolific passing attack.

Stats Corner

Wake is 7th in the nation in third down offense, converting at a 49.7% rate. They’re also top-10 in passing offense in general (14.92 ypc and 322.7 ypg, 10th), red zone offense (94.3%, 4th), scoring offense (43.1 ppg, 4th), and total offense (490.0 ypg, 8th).

On the flipside, BC is 9th in third down defense (31.5%). Their own pass defense has been excellent (167.8 ypg, 5th) — partly because teams are running all over the yard — but still up there in terms of yards per completion (11.61, 23rd) and per attempt (6.66, 20th) and pass efficiency defense (119.99, 24th).

Oddsmakers

BC +5.5

o/u 64

BC + 180 / WF -220

Prediction

The best defense for BC here is an offense that can control the ball and keep the Claw-fense off the field. Lukabu’s defense can create more plays if they’re fresh and can pick their spots. Leaning on Pat Garwo, wearing down the Wake defense on a nippy afternoon will allow BC to dictate terms of the game. They can make for a frustrating time on the Wake sideline. BC 42 - WF 40

The Narrative

The rivalry thickens. BC spoils Wake’s year and many are once again asking the question . . . What if? [Phil didn’t get hurt]. Jeff Hafley has done what hasn’t been done in ages, beat an AP ranked team. Now, the team has the opportunity to eclipse the 7-win ceiling at a hopefully scenic bowl game.