Duke’s annual matchup with Wake Forest has become one of the more exciting rivalries in the ACC in the past decade. Every contest between the two in recent memory has been high-scoring and hinged on one key play.
But Blue Devils have not defeated Wake Forest since 1999. Last year, Wake Forest defeated Duke 24-23 at Wallace Wade Stadium. After taking a commanding 17-3 lead into halftime, the Blue Devils stormed back and scored 21 unanswered points to open the second half. Duke’s defense played its best half of the season, holding Wake Forest to virtually no yardage in the second half, but a 66-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens made it all for naught.
Behind the arm of junior quarterback Tanner Price, the Demon Deacons are not afraid of shootouts. The Demon Deacons will need to score without Givens, though, after the wideout was selected in the fourth round in the 2012 NFL Draft after racking up 83 receptions, 1,330 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Even without Givens, Wake Forest will rely on redshirt junior Michael Campanaro, who quietly registered 73 catches and 833 yards playing opposite Givens last season. Wake Forest will need to rely on its aerial attack, though, as it possesses a subpar ground game behind an unremarkable offensive line.
Just as the Demon Deacons have struggled running the ball on offense, they have not been strong stopping opponents from running. Instead, head coach Jim Grobe will have to rely on shutting down opposing passing games, and for that he will count on top-notch rush linebacker Joey Ehrmann and one of the more underrated players in the ACC, veteran safety Kenny Okoro.
With a depleted offense, Wake Forest will need its defense to step up in order to repeat last year’s 6-7 season.