The Wake Forest at Florida State (4-0) football game this weekend looks like one of the all-time epic mismatches and very well could be. Fans who bet heavily against the five-touchdown underdog Deacons should do so with an abundance of caution, however.
That’s because Wake Forest (2-3) is an extremely well-coached team under Dave Clawson and is coming off a respectable showing in a 20-10 loss to Louisville a week ago. This is not the same team that opened the season with road losses to Louisiana Monroe and Utah State. Clawson has the distinction of winning at least 10 games as a head coach at three places — Fordham, Richmond and Bowling Green — so he knows how to both rebuild and coach on game day. He’s also been the head coach of champions in four leagues (Mid-American, Colonial Athletic, Patriot and Atlantic 10).
A year ago (without Clawson) Wake Forest held the eventual national champions to their lowest yardage output of the season (256 yards), but still lost 59-3 thanks to seven turnovers. Two of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns on consecutive plays. As impressive as the Seminoles were a season ago, they have been that spotty this season so that, combined with an expectation of increased ball security by Clawson’s team, should keep this one within the five-touchdown range.
Under Clawson, too, the one thing the Deacons do well is play defense, as they are ranked No. 34 in the country in points against per game (20.2). That should also factor into keeping the total number of points down in this one.
Prediction: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 7