Friday, December 28, 2007

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Wake Forest vs. Connecticut Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ESPN
Charlotte, N.C.
Line: WF -2, 47.5



Wake Forest (8-4, 5-3)
The Deacs are making their 8th bowl appearance in nearly 120 years of football and their 1st back to back bowl appearance. They challenged for the Atlantic Divsion title until early November after starting 0-2.
Best Win: vs FSU 24-21
Worst Loss: @ Clemson 10-44
Record vs Bowl Teams: 3-3
Schedule Strength: 35th
HC Grobe in Bowl Games: 1-1

UConn (9-3, 6-2)
The Huskies tied for the Big East crown in just their 8th year at the Div I-A level of football. They started 8-1 before losing 2 of their last 3 on the road.
Best Win: vs So. Fla 22-15
Worst Loss: @ Cincinnati 3-27
Record vs Bowl Teams: 2-3
Schedule Strength: 25th
HC Edsall in Bowl Games: 1-0

Wake Forest Offense:
The Demon Deacons like to use a lot of misdirection and zone blocking to make up for a lack of size on the line and speed on the edges. WR Kenneth Moore is their all purpose guy who is dangerous down field and on reverses. Sophomore QB Riley Skinner is not going to beat with his arm as he has just 1 game with over 220 yards passing on the year. He has thrown 12 INTs to just 11 TDs.

Uconn Defense:
Randy Edsall's defensive stats were hurt by the West Virginia game where they gave up a third of their total rushing TDs for the season (7 of 20) and over 536 yards. The Huskies defense is led by the LB corps who have 9 INTs on the year; as a team UConn ranks 4th nationally in picks with 22 and 5 of those were returned for touchdowns.

Uconn Offense:
UConn features a two back system of Donald Brown and Andre Dixon who combined for over 1550 yards this year. QB Tyler Lorenzen is in the athletic mold of his counterpart Skinner and can tuck it down and run. Expect Uconn to try and grind this one out on the ground as Lorenzen is mainly a game manager.

Wake Forest Defense:
The Deacs have been very good on defense this year yielding just 109 ypg on the ground and that includes a game against Navy. The front 7 is very good, but the secondary is even better. CB Alphonso Smith is tied for tops in the nation with 8 INTs on the year. Expect Jim Grobe to put 8 men in the box against UConn and make Lorenzen beat them.

Motivation:
I don't see much of an edge for either in this game as both of these programs are excited just to be in a bowl. Grobe is known for his teams playing above their talent, but Edsall is making a name for himself in that category as well.

Prediction:
This may be the fastest bowl game played because both teams like to keep it on the ground. Both teams are excellent in turnover margin with Uconn at +13 and Wake at +10 on the season. I like Wake Forest because their defense is better and they have one of the best kick and punt combinations in the country.

Wake Forest 20 UConn 19
Wake Wins, Uconn Covers, Under

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