The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have struggled mightily this season in many different ways. At times they have looked like they can compete with anyone, but have not been consistent enough to look on this season as a success. After their tough loss at home against Louisville, the Deacons had a bye week and now face the toughest part of the schedule beginning with the fourth ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the road in South Bend. The task of beating the Irish and crushing their dreams of a College Football Playoff bid is daunting, but Wake Forest will have a chance to prove their worth on Saturday afternoon.
Here are the steps needed for Wake Forest to pull off what would arguably be the biggest upset of the NCAA Football season...
Get To The Quarterback
DeShone Kizer has been terrific for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this season in the absence of Malik Zaire, and a big reason for his success is how comfortable he is in the pocket. Wake Forest needs to hurry his throws and sack him to not only rattle him, but also force Notre Dame into third and long situations. Kizer may also throw into traffic, which could lead to Wake Forest turnovers.
Protect The Football
Wake Forest has struggled tremendously with turnovers. They give up a lot and they do not force many. To pull off a huge upset, a team needs to win the turnover battle. Wake Forest cannot give the Irish good field position with wasted possessions which end in turnovers. Wake could have easily won the Louisville game if they just did not get in their own way with red zone interceptions. The Deacons will need to be mistake free against the Irish.
Kill The Clock
Wake Forest needs to shorten this game. Shortening the game by keeping possession and running the football well keeps the game close and when games that are projected to be blowouts do not end up that way, the favorites tend to get nervous and make mistakes. The Deacons have improved a lot in the run game, but have still struggled compared to the rest of the country still ranking well over 100th in the nation. They will need the run game led by Bell and Colburn to be far better than they have been if Wake is to have any chance of winning in South Bend.
Even with Wake Forest accomplishing these three tasks, the game should still be close. Notre Dame has far more talent with Kizer, Prosie and Fuller leading the offense. Their defense also has a lot of NFL-level talent and is ranked in the top 50 in the NCAA. Needless to say, Wake Forest needs to be perfect.