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Syracuse vs. Wake Forest football preview: Q&A with Blogger So Dear

At least one of us is very invested in the result of this game.

NCAA Football: Army at Wake Forest Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange are playing out the schedule here, while the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are competing for a potential trip to the Orange Bowl. Oh how the roles have reversed from what we assumed just a few months ago...

Since we’re not Wake Forest fans (thankfully — most years), we went ahead and asked one about what to expect in this game. Blogger So Dear’s Cam Lemons (who you can follow on Twitter) joins us to talk all about the Deacons. You can check out those responses below. We also provide some notes on Syracuse over there, which we can link to once they’re live.

This series has been weird over the years. What sort of oddity are you expecting will occur this time around?

Saying a blowout doesn’t do this team justice. I have the utmost respect for Syracuse, unlike a couple of other programs on our schedule, I was very high on Cuse (as were most) coming in and it just didn’t pan out with both injuries and plays in general. While the Wake Forest team is banged up themselves, I still think there is a considerable gap between these two teams. Syracuse doesn’t produce the weirdness that BC does with us but there’s going to be some weird momentum shifts that leave both sides scratching their heads.

What’s the most ideal ACC football scheduling solution, in your opinion?

Funny this is a question as I was actually talking about this on Twitter. Pods pods pods. Being an NC team, wanting to play the other three every year for the state championship is such an intoxicating idea. Banner Society actually did a great article on it and for the most part, I agree with it. FSU gets to be our 4th in that scenario but I’d love it to be possibly one of BC/Cuse if not FSU. It just sucks that both of us have to have to every year get FSU/Clemson while the coastal continues to be a flaming pile of hot garbage for the most part.

We’ve been asking everyone else for weeks now: Who’s the second-best team in the ACC? There’s probably no wrong answer.

VPI is the easy answer. I still have legit questions about their offense, as does say SP+, but that defense is legit. Got to watch it first hand at Lane Stadium a few weeks ago. Good thing once they beat UVA(hopefully) for the like 216th straight year, they’ll only lose to Clemson. Can we use this to talk about something? How blasphemous is it that ND only has 5 ACC games a year and gets to take away the Camping World Bowl most likely from the ACC. Like are we really being serious with this?

NCAA Football: Duke at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest has had a great season, despite sustaining some big injuries. Anything else you’d change about what’s transpired this year?

This one is very easy: don’t throw the Louisville game away. All parties admitted we came out extremely flat, gave up so many yards and TDs on Special Teams, turned the ball over /couldn’t move it at all, defensive blunders all in really the first half. We fix one of 3 units there, Wake is staring at being a 10 win team in the regular season and being in line for the Orange Bowl. Don’t even get me started on the onside kick we obviously recovered and the refs just went, “nah.”

What’s the most dangerous thing about Jamie Newman for opposing defenses?

His running ability. His accuracy, especially on deep balls, has been well documented but he is such a smart and powerful runner. He is #SneakyFast and that was on display vs both Duke and Boston College. He can and will run you over if you are in front of him, but if he gets a hole he will take off. That’s something that’s really underrated in an offense like Wake’s. Sure you can be somewhat mobile, but Jamie poses a true running threat that you actually have to respect if you’re tryna come in and blow up the play.

The Deacons’ defense has struggled at times this year. What’s the chief reason for the issues, when they occur?

Combination of not getting pressure and not being on the same page in the secondary. I haven’t seen the numbers since Clemson and Duke, but we blitz about 15% of the time which was 63rd amongst P5 teams. It goes without saying if you can’t get to the QBs, holes eventually open in the secondary. In terms of the secondary themselves, they’ve been largely fine, but it’s giving up huge chunk plays. Whether it’s a 3rd and long(even though we are top 20 in 3rd down defense!) or just simply a 1st and 10, there always feels like 3-4 games a play that’s just horrible communication between them and then there’s 40 yards right there.

Is there a specific Orange player or position group that most concerns you for this one?

Special teams, Special teams, Special teams. I have no idea what’s been happening on kickoffs and punts, but we’ve been absolutely atrocious covering them. It burned us against UL, burned us against VPI, and if we don’t give up 2 TDs on them to Duke they don’t score more than 10 points. I know Syracuse isn’t exactly a slouch when it comes to speed on that unit as well, so this needs to be a point of focus.

NCAA Football: Duke at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Name one unsung Wake Forest player Syracuse fans should get more familiar with.

It’s too easy to say Steven Claude after the story Conor O’Neill wrote about him here. No seriously, give it a read and make sure you have some tissues nearby. The person I’ll go with is JaCorey Johns. The DL pretty much starts and ends with Carlos “Boogie” Basham when people talk about it, I mean good reason. However, as a redshirt freshman, Johns has stepped into a starting role and racked up 47 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. Every person on the line has their role and he has filled his perfectly and is only going to continue to get better and better.

Prediction time: Who wins this one and why? (plus final score)

Wake 41, Syracuse 24. I think the Syracuse offense is markedly improved and I have all the respect in the world for Cisco and Robinson defensively. However, as I said earlier, I just think these two teams are in two different classes. I think Cuse comes out on fire and keeps this game interesting but then as the game wears on Jamie, Cade Carney, and Kenneth Walker just keep gashing them on the ground and open up some long catches by Kendall Hinton and Wake walks into the bowl season with 9 wins.


Thanks again to Cam for taking the time out to answer these. Be sure to follow Blogger So Dear and check out the site too, for all things Wake Forest.