Wake Forest had its dreams of an undefeated season smashed last weekend in a zany 58-55 defeat at North Carolina. The Deacons had never gone undefeated in the long history of their program.
With some readjustment this week, they have their home finale and one of the country’s best quarterbacks to continue a march toward one of the finer bowl games. Sam Hartman will deliver.
Our Pick: Demon Deacons -2 (-110)
NCAAF · Sat (8/24) @ 2:30pm ET
|Truist Field, Winston–Salem, NC
No. 21 NC State Wolfpack (7-2)
The Pack has a stout defense, allowing a top-10 0.247 points per play and 102 rushing yards per game. But it will have a long day since Hartman leads the country with 8.7 yards per play.
Wake tailbacks Justice Ellison and Christian Beal have combined for nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, and receivers Jaquarii Roberson and AT Berry have scored 18 total TDs, averaging about 19 yards per catch between them.
When all that’s clogged, Hartman takes off and runs, usually for a chunk of yardage. This is NC State’s biggest defensive test.
Devin Leary has been quite capable in the pocket for the Pack, throwing for 25 TDs and having only three picked off. He’s also fumbled it three times.
He just isn’t in Hartman’s class. The road has presented NC State with some problems, at Mississippi State and Miami, and this one will be difficult, too.
In particular, Leary had better be leery throwing in the neighborhood of Wake senior rover Traveon Redd.
No. 13 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-1)
Hartman, a 6-foot-1 senior from Charlotte, N.C., has guided the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense (45.1 points per game) this season.
The Deacons haven’t scored fewer than 35 points in any game. That the 55 they tallied last week, representing their second-highest output, came in a defeat must have stung.
Now, they take it out on NC State in the home finale. This is the third-longest continuous rivalry in college football, and the home team has covered 19 of the last 24 games.
Wake is 5-0 on its own FieldTurf, where it has gone 10-1 in its previous 11 tilts.
Hartman, who dedicated his career to a sibling who committed suicide in 2015, is on the roll of a lifetime.
In his past three games, he’s thrown for 1,258 yards and 13 touchdowns. Two of those 117 attempts were picked off. Plus, he’s rung up five rushing TDs in that stretch.
NC State at Wake Forest Full Sportsbook Odds
Sports Betting Recommendation
The penchant for both of these teams to put up big numbers makes the total, which has dipped from 72 to around 66, tantalizing, but that’s just high enough to be suspect.
We opt for Sam Hartman in his final home game. He possesses the skills and complementary assets to cap a sterling career with a memorable performance, to erase last week’s pain.
Hartman is on a roll that doesn’t end here.