ACC football previews: No. 13 Deacs aim to ground Eagles

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 21, 2022

By Aaron Beard

AP Sports Writer

Wake Forest had regrouped from its only loss with a pair of strong performances when its off week arrived. The 13th-ranked Demon Deacons must pick things back up, starting with Saturday’s visit from Boston College.

The Demon Deacons (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) responded to a crushing double-overtime loss to No. 5 Clemson by winning at Florida State. Then came a home win against Army in which they surrendered just 10 points against the triple-option run attack after giving up 56 the year before.

“In some ways I felt like the last three weeks we probably played really good football,” coach Dave Clawson said. “And when you’re playing well, you don’t necessarily want a break but I think it was as good as much mentally for our players as physically.”

The goal going forward is to stay within reach of Clemson in the league’s Atlantic Division race, though the Demon Deacons are also flirting with cracking the top 10 of the AP Top 25 for a second straight season.

The mission is different for the Eagles (2-4, 1-3). They’re coming off their own loss to Clemson before an open date, though their offense has sputtered to 14 or fewer points in all three of their league losses.

BC coach Jeff Hafley said the bye week was “not as productive as you want it to be because you’re so banged up.”

“Usually you have a bye and you have time to recover,” he said. “But we’ve had so many guys that have had season-ending surgeries, where the bye doesn’t matter.”

The Eagles are also coming off an off week hoping for better offensive production considering they scored 14 or less in each of their three league losses.

Boston College hasn’t beaten an AP Top 25 opponent since 2014.


The Demon Deacons are 14th in the Bowl Subdivision in averaging 41.2 points, and their 247 points are the most through the first six games in program history.

The offense is rolling behind Sam Hartman and his 88 career passing touchdowns is two shy of Clemson’s duo of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence for fourth on the ACC’s all-time list.

The Deacs have scored at least 31 points in every game


Boston College was hit with a wave of the flu before last year’s game against Clemson with 32 players falling ill during the week. Fifteen of them, including Jurkovec, were out on the previous Wednesday, forcing the team to hold a walkthrough instead of a regular practice.

Ten players missed the game that the Demon Deacons won 41-10 to clinch the division race.

“It was kind of like our flu game,” Hafley said. “But it didn’t go like (Michael) Jordan’s flu game, obviously.”

Hafley said he got his flu shot Monday.

“So, besides a sore arm, I hope I don’t get the flu before this game,” he said.


Clawson said Wake Forest’s list of off-week work included getting better at defending the deep ball in the air and “attacking it at the high point.” The Demon Deacons have surrendered 14 passing touchdowns, second only to North Carolina’s 18 in the ACC.

That could be a key against BC receiver Zay Flowers, who leads the ACC in catches (42) and receiving yards (556) to go with five touchdowns. He had TD grabs of 57 and 69 yards in the loss to Louisville on Oct. 1. “If you’re watching us on film, I’m sure that’s something people are going to keep doing it until we show we can consistently defend it,” Clawson said.

Boston College (2-4, 1-3 ACC) at No. 13 Wake Forest (5-1, 1-1), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  (ACC Network)

Line: Wake Forest by 201/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: BC leads 14-12-2.

Duke-Miami game to feature
a pair of red-hot quarterbacks

Duke comes to Miami on Saturday for the first time since 2018. The Hurricanes have enjoyed blowout wins at Duke in each of the last two years.

Duke quarterback Riley Leonard showed a ton of toughness in last week’s loss to North Carolina. He threw for 245 yards and a score while rushing for another 130 yards and a touchdown.

Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is getting hot again. He had 496 yards passing against North Carolina two weeks ago and 351 more against Virginia Tech last week.

The Blue Devils are coming to Miami for the first time since 2018. … Duke has gone 2-2 against Miami in the last four matchups.  Miami has won the last two games in the series by a combined 95-10 score.

Duke is 4-0 when scoring first, 0-3 otherwise. Miami is 2-0 when scoring first, 1-3 otherwise.


Might be time to start thinking about bowl eligibility. One of these teams will pick up loss No. 4, and neither team has a cakewalk schedule down the stretch of the regular season as they try to get to that six-win bowl-eligibility level.


Miami vs. Duke’s red zone defense. The Hurricanes have moved the ball well over the last two weeks — piling up nearly 1,000 yards in games against North Carolina and Virginia Tech — but all that real estate has led to only 44 points. Miami needs to finish drives since Duke can score in bunches.


Duke: QB Riley Leonard showed a ton of toughness in last week’s loss to North Carolina, throwing for 245 yards and a score and rushing for another 130 yards and a touchdown.

Miami: QB Tyler Van Dyke is getting hot again — 496 yards passing against North Carolina two weeks ago, 351 more against Virginia Tech last week.

Duke (4-3, 1-2 ACC) at Miami (3-3, 1-1), Saturday, 12:30 p.m.  (Regional networks)

Line: Miami by 91/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Miami leads 15-4.

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