by Anand "EhhTee" Trivedi
WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- The #19 Hokies (4-2, 8-2) travel two and a half hours south to Winston-Salem this weekend to take on the #14 Demon Deacons (5-1, 9-1) of Wake Forest. The streaking Deacons can go into next weekend's match-up against the Maryland Terrapins strong with a win over the Hokies. The Deacons control their own destiny: win the next two games and they will the Atlantic Division and will travel to Jacksonville for the ACC Championship game. Not bad for the second smallest Division 1-A team. [Quick, name the smallest! Hint: White on...]
The Hokies, who have brushed off the woes of two straight in conference losses and won four in a row, will need two losses by Georgia Tech to make it to the championship game. That is improbable, so the Hokies will need to finish strong if they want a post New Year's Day bowl.
Unlike MadJay, I enjoyed the performance of the Hokies against the Hurricanes a few weeks ago. The Hurricanes are an oddity this season. They have a BCS caliber defense and a Division 1-AA offense. A 17-10 victory in the Orange Bowl is commendable. That gives me a little hope for the Hokies at Wake Forest. Traditionally, the game at Wake Forest is a virtual home game with seventy percent of the stands filled with Hokie fans. This weekend, I would imagine, that it will be closer to playing at a neutral site. Or potentially, with the hype of potentially winning the ACC, the Deacon fans will show up in force!
Now, both teams have struggled on offense, but both have found ways to win. For the Hokies, it's been the number one ranked total defense that has kept the Hokies alive. Allowing only an average of 228.4 (127.7 through the air also puts the Hokies at number one in passing defense) the Hokies defense has matured significantly since the two losses. I do not expect there to be too much trouble containing the 102 ranked Wake offense.
And yet, there is still reason to be concerned. The Deacons were able to blank the struggling Florida State Seminoles 30-0 at home. It was so bad, the Coach Bowden was prompted to fire his own son [which he should have done ages ago.] But when you break it down, it wasn't Wake's dominance, it was their ability to capitalize on the Seminoles mistakes. The Seminoles threw four interceptions and lost this game basically due to field position. The Seminoles crossed into Wake territory twice! If the Hokies come out like this, and they are capable of it, then Wake will easily take advantage.
It will all start with ball control. Glennon, and I won't go into that debate here, will need to hold on to the ball when pressured. And believe me, he will be pressured. If it's one thing that teams know to do against this offense, it's send pressure. Expect to see Ore get the ball a lot in that same old predictable Stinespring way. Most times it works and if the Deacons send pressure, he's bound to break a big one or two. But in order to do so they'll need to open it up a bit to the receivers. But when they do, they'll have to watch out for #22 safety Josh Gattis. He's got four interceptions this year.
The games significance has prompted a new game time of 7:00. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. I believe this is a national broadcast, but have been unable to confirm.