CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Wake Forest has entered the national rankings for the first time in 11 years and the 24th-ranked team in the country will put its new-found accolade to the test Saturday at Boston College in an ACC matchup. Riding the arm of junior quarterback Jamie Newman, who ranks fifth in FBS play with 1,278 passing yards, the Demon Deacons are 4-0 for the third time in four years, but they're approaching the fast start different this time around.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: Wake Forest -6.5
"I shared that with our football team the other day, that this is nice," coach Dave Clawson, who saw the 2016 and 2017 teams open 4-0 before fading. "But we've been here before. How did we handle it in '16? How did we handle it in '17? How can we be better? What can we do better? I think the fact that we've been in this position before will help us." Newman threw for 351 yards and five touchdowns in last week's 49-7 win over Elon and he may need to put up some points to keep pace with the Eagles, who have averaged 33.5 during a 3-1 start behind their usual strong running attack. Junior AJ Dillon ran for 150 yards and two scores in last Saturday's 30-16 victory at Rutgers. He had 185 yards on the ground in last year's 41-34 win at Wake Forest.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (4-0)
Newman has a pair of top-tier targets in sophomore Sage Surratt (30 catches, 484 yards, five touchdowns) and senior Scotty Washington (22, 376, five). Kenneth Walker III is averaging 10 yards per carry - second-most among qualified players in FBS play - to lead the ground game. Junior defensive lineman Carlos Basham Jr. was held without a sack last week for the first time in 2019, and he ranks third among ACC players with 4.5 on the year.
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (3-1)
The Eagles allowed 76 yards on the ground at Rutgers after they were carved up for 329 in a loss to Kansas the previous week. "We just got out of whack a little too much," coach Steve Addazio told reporters of the lackluster defensive effort two weekends ago. "I think we pulled that right back in again last week, and we want to continue to grow from here." Quarterback Anthony Brown could use a reset as well after completing only 52 percent of his passes for an average of 172.3 yards over the past three games, although he has yet to throw an interception in 101 attempts overall.
1. Brown had career highs of 304 yards and five TDs in last year's meeting.
2. Demon Deacons LB Justin Strnad leads ACC players with 40 tackles.
3. The road team has won each of his last five matchups.
PREDICTION: Wake Forest 35, Boston College 32