#TheRivalry continues. Boston College travels to #13 Wake Forest this weekend to commence the second half of the season. Both teams are coming off bye weeks, but BC is still reeling on all fronts. Sitting at 5-1, Dave Clawson’s group only have an overtime loss to Clemson to blemish their record. A recent road victory over a hot Florida State team, though, reaffirmed their place among the country’s best. Well, at least on offense.
Sam Hartman and company boast one of the top offenses in the nation. The Demon Deacons are a top-15 scoring offense, averaging 41 points per game. Hartman’s off to his best start in his five year career at the school. In five games, he’s thrown for 1442 yards, 16 touchdowns to only two interceptions. Despite missing the first game of the season, he has the 6th most passing touchdowns in the country. His six tosses in one game (against Clemson) were a school record, and he now sits at 4th all time in passing yards in ACC history. His completion percentage, passing efficiency, yards per attempt are all up. The overall offensive output may be a tick down from last season, but the efficiency is the key here.
All-ACC wide receiver A.T. Perry is still dominating as well. The big-bodied receiver has nearly 500 yards and four touchdowns. Jahmal Banks and Donovan Greene are the next two top options. The sophomore Banks has broken out this season with 20 catches, 306 yards, and five touchdowns. Like Perry, he has the size to make contested catches and dominated in the Clemson game.
The run game isn’t a main focal point given the passing prowess. It’s a balanced running game between Justice Ellison and Christian Turner. The pair are both averaging over 4.2 a carry, and have eclipsed 700 yards from scrimmage.
A new defensive coordinator has helped usher in an improved defense. They’re allowing three fewer points (36) and fewer yards per game (385) than a season ago. They’re playing faster and picking up some key turnovers (~2 a game) and stops (42% on 3rd down). And that’s all despite losing six starters from last year.
The key has been an improved rushing defense, although a bit at the expense of a secondary that leaves a lot to be desired. Defensive end Rondell Bothroyd is the current sack leader with 3 and linebacker Ryan Smenda is by far the team leader in tackles (50). Both captains have stepped up big.
On the backend, safety Malik Mustapha has been a menace with 2.5 sacks, 35 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles. The secondary is allowing 235 passing yards per game and over 2 passing touchdowns as well though. Wake has been one of the worst in the country in red zone defense. Teams have thrown 10 passing touchdowns in the red zone.
Overall, the squad is 75th in total defense, opening the door for the BC offense to actually put up some points.
Dave Clawson has done an unbelievable job turning around Wake Forest. Now in his 9th season in charge, he has the machine humming. In order to repeat as division champions, Wake is going to need a little help like last go, along with taking care of business on their own end. They follow this home contest with two road games to Louisville and NC State, before returning home for two ranked teams in UNC and Syracuse.