The Louisville football team is set to take on Wake Forest this weekend. What should you know about them?
It is the last game week of 2020 for Louisville football on a season that will come mercifully to an end Saturday afternoon.
The opponent is a familiar one as Louisville and Wake Forest have played each other in each of the past six seasons. Louisville leads the overall series 5-2 including a 62-59 win in 2019 over the Demon Deacons.
There is a lot to know about this Wake Forest team including some brand new developments within the program.
Let’s give a primer on the Demon Deacons ahead of this weekend’s matchup.
They have not played a game in nearly a month
Due to an abundance of Covid-19 issues with the program, Wake Forest was forced to re-schedule multiple games to make things work within the confines of the schedule and the health within the program. When they take the field Saturday against Louisville, it will have been four weeks to the day they last played in a game.
Wake head coach Dave Clawson had a simple quote earlier in the game week about his team.
Certainly, Clawson does not sound optimistic about the team’s chances with a comment like this one. Not only has the team not played a game in four weeks, but they also just got to practice for the first time since Thanksgiving when they practiced on Dec. 5.
The Cardinals really should be getting a team that is not in game shape as Clawson said. If Louisville loses this game, it would leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans and the program as a whole. It is not that Wake Forest is a bad team. It is just the simple fact that you should not lose to a team that has barely practiced and has not played a game in nearly a month.
They have a key player who recently chose to opt-out
The Demon Deacons already had lost star receiver Sage Surratt due to opt-out before the season even started in September. That was a big loss in itself as Surratt is likely to be a draft pick that is selected decently high in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Now, the Deacs have a new player choosing to opt-out as sophomore stud running back Kenneth Walker III decided to call it quits for the remainder of the 2020 season due to the amount of Covid problems within the program.
Walker up to this point had 13 touchdowns on the ground in just seven games this season. He also rushed for 579 yards on 119 attempts in 2020. Walker is one of the best backs in the ACC and his loss is sure to hurt Wake Forest this weekend.
Running the ball is what the Demon Deacons do best on offense and not having Walker in to tote the rock is an opportunity that Louisville needs to take advantage of in this game.
They have the best turnover margin in the country
This is a tale of two ball clubs. Louisville currently holds the second worst turnover margin in the nation with an awful -14 margin.
On the other hand, Wake Forest has the best with a +15 margin. Wake Forest is only 4-3 on the season despite being tops in the country in this key category.
The Demon Deacons have turned the ball over only once in seven games this season which is by far the least of anyone who has played in seven or more games.
This is such an intriguing matchup for this reason. Louisville has not been able to protect the ball at all this year and that is why they stand at 3-7 with virtually no chance of making a bowl game. Meanwhile, Wake Forest has forced a ton of turnovers and committed just one and, still, they only have a 4-3 record.
Watch for this development to be absolutely key on Saturday. If Louisville wins or at least keeps the turnover battle even, the Cardinals should have a great shot to win the game. However, the stats are telling us that Wake is likely to raise Hell in that category.
The Demon Deacons are shorthanded and there has been a lot of talk around the program due to the Covid problems that they have been experiencing. The loss of Kenneth Walker is monumental and the team is going to have to shake off some rust after a 28-day break from a game setting.
The turnover battle is also going to be key in this one due to the polar opposite nature of the two in the stat column. The Cardinals have been stuck in their rut all year of creating and forcing turnovers while Wake has had the ball glued to their hands in 2020.
In the season finale, the Cardinals will have their hands full against a team that values the ball. Will Louisville value it just as much?