Beats' picks: Duke football takes on No. 13 Wake Forest

The Duke defense will have its hands full with Sam Hartman and the explosive Wake Forest offense.
The Duke defense will have its hands full with Sam Hartman and the explosive Wake Forest offense.

Every football game, our beat writers Cam Polo, Jake Piazza, Max Rego, Alex Jackson, Micah Hurewitz and Jonathan Levitan will be here to give you their picks for Duke's upcoming matchup, and we'll keep track of their prediction records every week. The Blue Devils will travel down the road to Winston-Salem, N.C., for an ACC matchup against 16.5-point favorite Wake Forest.

Jake Piazza: Wake Forest 51-31

I don't expect Duke to have much fun on its short road trip to Winston-Salem, N.C. Between quarterback Sam Hartman and the receiving duo of AT Perry and Jaquarii Roberson, this Demon Deacon offense is going to light up the scoreboard, and I don't think this Duke offense has enough firepower to win on that front. The Blue Devils stock has been on a steady decline since their win against Kansas, and they haven't shown me anything the past three games that hints at them getting their first ACC win. 

Max Rego: Wake Forest 52-20

This one could get out of hand in a hurry. Sam Hartman has a knack for stepping up in the pocket and delivers strikes all over the field, and despite the Duke secondary getting healthy over the bye, I still see a whole bunch of explosives for the Demon Deacons Saturday. Unless the Blue Devils can put points on the board early and give opportunities to Mataeo Durant, Wake Forest is going to dominate Duke all afternoon. Holmberg bounces back from his worst performance as the starter up to this point, but it is not nearly enough in Winston-Salem. 

Jonathan Levitan: Wake Forest 48-20

The Demon Deacons, for all their success, haven’t looked very good on defense in the past few weeks. Head coach Dave Clawson’s team now fields the last-ranked rushing defense in the conference, but Duke has struggled to get going on offense against similarly poor defensive lines, leaving me hesitant to predict otherwise in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons are unbeaten, the Blue Devils are still searching for their first ACC win, and it’s unlikely that we see either of those trends change Saturday.

Alex Jackson: Wake Forest 51-14 

Sigh. There is only so much optimism I can have when it comes to this year’s Blue Devils. Wake Forest has emerged as an unlikely dominating force in the ACC and now Duke has to walk into Truist Field coming off an embarrassing loss. Cutcliffe knows the firepower that the Demon Deacons possess, so I foresee the Blue Devils going for, well, everything. Duke will need to seize every opportunity, go for every fourth down and two-point conversion, run every trick-play play in the book if it wants to have a chance of keeping pace with Wake Forest. The Blue Devils seemed to have fallen apart on the defensive side of the ball of recent which really opens the window for yet another Hartman clinic. 

Micah Hurewitz: Wake Forest 45-14

Is Duke’s defense good enough to stop Hartman and company from piling on the points? Probably not. But then the question is, does Duke have the offense to keep up? Based on its latest showing, the answer is likely no, as Duke failed to muster even a field goal in a 48-point shutout to Virginia. Armstrong sliced through Duke’s defense and Hartman will find exactly the same holes to score points in bunches, while Holmberg needs to find his rhythm again. Duke could have a chance if it keeps the scoring to a minimum and slows the game down, but if Wake Forest gets ahead first…it’s going to be a long day for the Blue Devils.

Cam Polo: Wake 50-35 

After giving up 56 to Army last week, I’m confident that Duke will get on the board early and often. However, the Wake Forest offense has shown they don’t need much time with the ball to punish you—expect another high scoring game in Winston-Salem, but the Blue Devils to ultimately come up short.

Piazza: 5-2

Rego: 4-3

Jackson: 3-4

Levitan: 4-3

Hurewitz: 4-3

Polo: 3-4

Max Rego profile
Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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