The Wake Forest Demon Deacons started the season on a high note with a 38-35 win over the Utah State Aggies. That may not look like much, but Utah State are a better team advertised with an experienced quarterback. Utah State came a play or two away from upsetting Michigan State in East Lansing in Week 1 last season.
They’re a well-prepared team with veteran leadership throughout their roster. Wake Forest did what they had to do to get to Rice in Texas with a 1-0 record. Their win was spearheaded by quarterback Jamie Newman, who is looking for a breakout campaign in his second season as the starting QB at Wake Forest.
Newman passed for 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, while rushing for 247 yards and an additional 4 touchdowns on the ground. The Wake Forest coaching staff are expecting him to take another leap forward in 2019 and so far no complaints.
Newman connected for 3 touchdowns through the air and 1 on the ground rushing. He also passed for 401 yards on a 72.3% completion rate. This was against a fairly good Utah State defense. They’re underrated and can get after an offense if taken lightly. Wake Forest avoided taking them lightly and Newman is on pace to shatter his highs from last season.
Their opponents on Friday night, Rice, fell by a score of 14-7 against Army in Week 1. Army are not expected to be as good as the past couple of years, but Rice held in there and did okay for their standards. There is some young talent on the Rice football team, but it’s exactly that, young.
Redshirt freshman Wiley Green won the QB job, having gotten his feet wet as a true freshman in 2018. Don’t be surprised if we see somebody else get a chance at quarterback, though. This is a rematch of a 56-24 Wake Forest win last season. Head below for our free Wake Forest vs. Rice pick.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Rice Owls NCAAF Week 2 Betting Odds:
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Wake Forest vs. Rice Pick:
Rice are just trying to figure it out for the future. They do not know yet if Wiley Green is going to be in the long-term plans and this season is going to be an audition for him. He had it tough in 2018 as a true freshman. Green passed for 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a 51.1% completion rate. He did not play against Wake Forest last season.
He must be way better than that for Rice to shock anyone and win more than a few games. It was more of the same for him in Week 1 of the 2019 campaign. He completed 50% of his passes, while leaning heavily on the running game.
They are going to need more than that to stay with Wake Forest in this contest. The running game alone isn’t going to work against the Demon Deacons. They’re not Clemson, who would be able to run the ball up the gut and gain yardage on Wake Forest continually.
If there’s a strength of the Wake Forest, it’s certainly the secondary led by cornerback Essang Bassey. Bassey has major ball skills that are being recognized by NFL scouts. If Green passes the ball his way, the Rice coaching staff are going to be holding their breath.
The Rice defense must change gears tenfold from Army to Wake Forest this week. They’ve been preparing for Army all summer long, a triple-option offense, and now Rice has to defend Jamie Newman. Newman is a dual-threat who can keep it on the ground or air it out. He’s likely going to run into trouble against elite defenses, but expect him to shred the Rice defense Friday night.
The Owls allowed 446 yards per game for 106th in the nation in 2018. There was no concept of stopping the pass and this was against Conference USA talent. Look for Newman to pad his stats. After passing for 3 touchdowns last week, he’s going to be close to his career-high 9 touchdown passes from last week going into Week 3.
Far too many drives are going to stall out without a capable QB for Rice to keep up with Newman and Wake Forest offensively. Rice had a 165-yard rusher against Wake Forest in 2018 and they still got blown out of the water. This looks like a 45-20 game in favor of Wake Forest.