Wake Forest -- A Closer Look


Posted Oct 22, 2013


Wake Forest will bring a 4-3 record into Miami for Saturday's game. Lets take a closer look at their football team heading into the weekend.

Wake Forest opened their 2013 season with a 31-7 win over Presbyterian. They then lost two straight to Boston College (24-10) and Louisiana-Monroe (21-19). After defeating Army (25-11), they weren't able to compete much with Clemson (56-7). The last two weeks, however, has shown a different Wake team. They've beaten N.C. State (28-13) and Maryland (34-10) in consecutive games.

Quarterback Tanner Price is a senior and has lots of game experience. He's done a very good job of taking care of the football (60-percent completion rate), distributing the ball (15 different players have caught passes for them), his TD/INT ratio (10/3) is among the best in the conference, and he's been able to make some plays with his feet (163 rushing yards). He should be as good as any quarterback the Hurricanes have faced so far this season.

The running game has been missing for most of the season. They're averaging just 101 yards per game, 3.0 per carry, and their longest run of the season has gone for just 28 yards. Senior Josh Harris (5-10/210) is the top guy in their backfield.

Senior receiver Michael Campanero has been, by far, their top pass-catcher this season. His 55 receptions are 42 more than the next closest guy! He's scored five touchdowns but has been more of a chain mover, as he's averaging 12.8 per catch. He can give defenses a lot of problems and has had tremendous chemistry with Price this season.

The offensive line hasn't been able to open many holes in the running game but they've done a nice job protecting Price. He's been sacked just 13 times in seven games so far.

Defensively, they're led by nose guard Nikita Whitlock. At 5-foot-10 and 250 pounds he's undersized but is very quick and has been disruptive all season. He has 45 tackles, seven sacks, and 13.5 tackles for loss on the season. At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, defensive end Zach Thompson (five sacks) has also shown some pass rushing ability.

Wake has a pair of talented cornerbacks in Merrill Noel (5-foot-9) and Kevin Johnson (6-1). Both have three interceptions on the season. Noel lacks ideal height but the former Florida prep standout is very athletic and has plus ball skills. Johnson can match up well, physically, with bigger receivers.

The return game has been average all season. Their punter is averaging just 39 yards per punt, and they've put just six of 31 kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks. Miami could end up having a big edge on special teams.



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