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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
Saturday, September 27th, 3:45 p.m. (et)
From The Sports Network
By Ralph Lauro, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The 16th-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons will try to match a school record for the most consecutive wins this weekend, as they entertain the Navy Midshipmen in a non-league bout in Winston-Salem.
The Demon Deacons enter the contest fresh off their biggest win of the year, a 12-3 victory over than nationally-ranked Florida State last weekend. The game represented the ACC opener for Wake, which is now off to a 3-0 start for the ninth time in school history and the second time in the past three seasons. As a matter of fact, the Demon Deacons have won six straight games dating back to last season, leaving them one victory shy of the school record of seven consecutive triumphs set in 1944.
On the flip side, Navy is also coming off its most noteworthy win of the season, downing Rutgers 23-21 last weekend. The victory put a stop to a brief two-game slide and improved the team to an even 2-2 overall. This is the Midshipmen's second game this season versus an ACC foe, losing at Duke (41-31) on September 13th.
The head-to-head series between Navy and WF favors the Deacons by a 6-2 count. WF has won each of the past four encounters, including a 44-24 triumph in Annapolis last season.
Navy and its option attack is off to an impressive start, as the team is averaging a healthy 345.8 ypg on the ground thus far. Last weekend, the Mids rolled up 272 rushing yards and used a late Matt Harmon field goal to upend Rutgers 23-21. Eric Kettani led the charge with 133 yards and a score on 20 carries, while Shun White added 85 yards on 16 totes. For the season, White paces the team with 673 yards and four scores and he is averaging an incredible 10.7 ypc. Kettani is next in line with 260 yards and he is averaging an also impressive 6.3 ypc. Quarterback Noa Kaheaku-Enhada adds another dimension to the ground attack and he has posted 75 yards in just two appearances. He has also thrown for 216 yards and a pair of scores. Last weekend, Noa Kaheaku-Enhada ran for 47 yards and threw for 89 more and a score in the win.
The Mids really stepped up on the defensive side of the ball last weekend, as they limited Rutgers to just 337 total yards and three touchdowns. Considering the defense is giving up 27.5 ppg and 395.2 total ypg on the season, last weekend's effort was certainly an improvement. Navy though, did have some issues stopping the run game of Rutgers, which amassed 206 yards with a 6.2 ypc average. It wasn't a stout effort at all versus the run, but the Mids did create two turnovers and that helped compensate for some of those yards. Wyatt Middleton led the way with 13 stops and a forced fumble and he tops the roster with 29 tackles for the season.
Sam Swank made 4-of-7 field goal attempts and that was all the offense Wake needed last weekend to beat FSU 12-3. Wake gained just 276 total yards in the victory, with only 59 of those yards coming on the ground. The Demon Deacons are averaging only 98.7 ypg on the ground for the season, but head coach Jim Grobe thought the run game improved a bit last weekend.
"I thought it was a little bit better. I know it doesn't seem like it, but I thought Josh Adams stepped up a little bit. I liked some of the runs that he had."
Adams had 66 yards on 18 carries against FSU and he leads the club with 146 yards and a score for the season. It is certainly a slow start for Adams, who entered the season with high expectations after posting 953 yards and 11 scores on the ground as a freshman in 2007.
Quarterback Riley Skinner though, continues to engineer this offense effectively and he completed 17-of-29 tosses for 217 yards last weekend. For the season, Skinner is hitting on an efficient 70.4 percent of his tosses for 234.7 ypg, with five touchdowns against no interceptions. Protecting the ball has been a real strength for Wake, which has committed only five turnovers in three games.
Wake's defense was all over the place last weekend and it not only held FSU to a mere field goal and just 220 yards of total offense, but it also forced an incredible seven turnovers. Five of those miscues came on interceptions and Grobe was certainly pleased with the performance of his defense.
"We've never had a game like that. Five interceptions is really unusual. What I thought was good is that we forced most of the turnovers. The defense made plays."
The Demon Deacons have now forced at least three turnovers in each game this season and that includes nine via interception. Kevin Patterson had a pair of interceptions last weekend, bringing his season total to three. Aaron Curry also had a pick to go with eight stops and a fumble recovery. He has 20 stops for the year and his tackling ability is a big reason why Wake has been able to limit its opponents to just 101.0 rushing ypg thus far.
Wake Forest seems to do whatever it takes each week to win and that is the mark of a good program. The Demon Deacons are clearly the pick here and their offense, especially ground game, should be able to get going against a Navy team that is smaller and less athletic.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 41, Navy 17
09/24 10:37:25 ET