College Football Preview: Virginia at Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM ó Wake Forest has dropped out of the rankings, has trouble running the ball and has been plagued by inconsistency and injuries. Virginia is coming off a heartbreaking loss in a season where its having trouble scoring.
In the ACC, that’s good enough to be in position to win a division title.
Both teams enter today’s matchup in Winston-Salem, with the opportunity to become bowl eligible and be in first place by the end of the day. Despite a gut-wrenching overtime home loss to Miami last week, Virginia (5-4, 3-2) is in a three-way tie for second in the Coastal Division, a half-game behind Georgia Tech, which faces a difficult road game at North Carolina Saturday.
Wake Forest (5-3, 3-2) got a boost when Maryland lost to Virginia Tech on Thursday, leaving the Demon Deacons tied with the Terrapins and Florida State for the Atlantic Division lead.
“We pay attention to everything,” Wake Forest defensive tackle Boo Robinson said. “We feel that our hopes of being in the ACC championship game and ACC champs aren’t diminished yet. … Seeing how the season has been going, there’s no telling who’s going to win.”
That’s for sure. Eight of the league’s 12 teams enter the weekend with two conference losses. So even if Virginia ranks 112th in the country in scoring and Wake Forest is 101st, their past problems could be erased with a strong finish.
“In the ACC, teams show up for games and they look totally different than they did the week before,” Virginia nose tackle Nate Collins said.
It happened to Wake Forest last week. Finally getting its stalled offense in gear, the defense suddenly allowed Duke to get into a shootout. Wake Forest survived 33-30 when Alphonso Smith came up with an interception in overtime.
Virginia, meanwhile, was on the verge of winning its fifth straight game before allowing Miami to tie the game on an improbable touchdown with 55 seconds left. The Hurricanes went on to win in overtime 24-17.