Day & Time: Saturday, October 31, noon ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse. N.Y.
Line: The good news is that the line has gone in favor of Syracuse as the week progressed. The bad news is that the line opened at -12 for Wake Forest and has only gone down to -10.5
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
Wake Forest Blog: Blogger So Dear
Rivalry: 6-3, Syracuse
Current Streak: 2, Syracuse
First Meeting: The first meeting between the two programs was a fairly recent contest in Winston-Salem to open the 2006 season. Syracuse’s offense was anemic with only 136 yards of total offense as the Orange lost 20-10 to the Demon Deacons.
Last Meeting: The last thing that Wake Forest expected as a bowl-bound team was to fall behind 17-3 to a four-win Orange squad in the last game of the regular season. The Demon Deacons fought back to send the game into overtime, where Trill Williams memorably ended the game with a strip-and-score to give Syracuse a 39-30 win to close the 2019 campaign.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Dino Babers (fifth year, 24-31) | Wake Forest - Dave Clawson (seventh year, 39-42)
Coach Bio: Clawson’s head coaching career started with Fordham in the FCS in 1993. He moved on to Richmond in 2004 before moving to Tennessee in 2008 to replace David Cutcliffe as the Volunteers offensive coordinator. Clawson was fired after that season by Lane Kiffin and subsequently moved to Bowling Green in 2009. He led the Falcons to three bowl games in five years which earned him his first FBS head coaching job with Wake Forest in 2014. The Demon Deacons initially struggled under Clawson before making bowl games in the last four seasons. He already earned the third-most wins in Wake Forest history heading into his seventh season leading the program.
Last Year: Wake Forest started 2019 strong with five straight wins to begin the season and move to No. 19 in the rankings. A close three-point loss in a shootout against Louisville knocked the Demon Deacons out of the rankings but they clawed back into the polls with a win over Florida State. Wake Forest would leave the polls once again after a loss to Virginia Tech but the Demon Deacons did enough to earn a trip to the Pinstripe Bowl. Wake Forest met Michigan State in that game and lost to the Spartans 27-21, the first bowl loss that Clawson suffered at Wake Forest.
Last Game: Wake Forest entered last week’s game against then No. 19/20 Virginia Tech on a two game winning streak. A national story developed as freshman walk-on Nick Andersen picked off three passes, the first Demon Deacon to achieve that feat since 1987. Wake Forest rode that momentum to a 23-16 upset over the Hokies.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Carlos Basham Jr. is the only FBS player who enters this week with a double-digit streak for games with a tackle for loss. He has recorded a TFL in 23 straight games with five TFLs and five sacks entering Saturday’s game. Basham ranks fourth all-time in Wake Forest history with 20.5 sacks and only needs three more to move into third place.
If Syracuse Wins: Perhaps the losses to Duke and Liberty were a fluke as Syracuse regains some momentum to start the last half of the season.
If Syracuse Loses: We remain content with the fact that all the unannounced games left on Syracuse’s schedule will be set for nooners.
Fun Fact: As I mentioned above, Clawson coached at Bowling Green before heading to Wake Forest. His time with the Falcons spanned from 2009 to 2013, and the man to replace him to lead Bowling Green was Babers, who led the Falcons from 2014 to 2015. Ironically, Babers left the Falcons to coach the Orange, which means Bowling Green’s last two head coaches have left to take a head coaching gig at an ACC school.