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UVA at Wake Forest: Q&A with Blogger So Dear

Virginia hits the road after three straight home games hoping to keep their bowl hopes alive.

NCAA Football: Army at Wake Forest
Hoos head to Wake to take on the Deacons.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia’s bowl hopes - however slim they may be - can stay alive this week with a win over a Wake Forest team that is desperately trying to become bowl eligible themselves. In order to better understand our Demon Deacon foes down south, we talked to Robert Reinhard from Blogger So Dear (@BloggerSoDear).

Check out our answers to their questions here.

STL: Wake started off hot, but has been struggling to get that elusive sixth win for bowl eligibility. What has been the biggest challenge for the Deacs in the last few games?

RR: I think a decent portion of it has to do with the schedule. Wake started off 4-0, but then lost to NC State in Raleigh. Wake has historically performed very poorly there, and this is a team that should have beaten Clemson at Clemson, and consistently recruits better than Wake. Wake also lost to FSU, who has nearly as much talent as anyone. The biggest pain point here is the loss to Army this past weekend. Wake's biggest challenge in this game was that Wolford had three interceptions, and the team also failed to establish the run. The game plan was quite aggressive in the second half (a lot of vertical routes) considering the limitations of Wolford, and I believe Wake would have been much better served by running the ball and completing shorter passes.

STL: John Wolford has struggled this season with just four TD passes to seven INTs, including three last week against Army. What do you expect from the offense this week, and what can Virginia do to rattle Wolford?

RR: I expect the offense to return to a more ground based game that takes the occasional shot down the field. Head coach Dave Clawson said on his radio show that in hindsight we probably should have run the ball against Army. I believe the coaching staff is now more aware of Wolford's limitations in terms of throwing the deep ball, and will attempt to mitigate risk/turnovers. In order to rattle Wolford, I think it will come down to pass rush. I don't believe he does a great job of progressing through reads, and instead tends to get fixated on one receiver. If you can apply pressure, that will only decrease the amount of time he has to make reads and get rid of the ball.

STL: Who are some players to know on the defense?

RR: Wake's defense is definitely the strength of its team. The first player I would point to is defensive end Duke Ejiofor, who is having an outstanding season. Through 8 games he already has 12.5 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks, to go along with 2 forced fumbles and 3 passes broken up. He's a terror for opposing quarterbacks, and has the potential to have a major impact in this game. The second start of the defense is linebacker Marquel Lee. He's a very athletic linebacker who does an excellent job of covering the field. He has 64 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and 4 sacks, as well as 3 forced fumbles.

STL: What is your biggest concern going into this game?

RR: My biggest concern in this game is probably Virginia's defense. I know that may sound ridiculous given that they allow 462 yards/game and 33 points/game, but the advanced metrics indicate they've had some strong performances as of late. Football Study Hall suggests that UVA's defensive performance against Louisville was in the 89th percentile, and the performance against Pittsburgh was in the 84th percentile. When you combine this with Wake's anemic offensive performance against Army, I start to get fairly concerned.

STL: Ok, who ya got?

RR: I can't say that I'm particularly confident in this game, especially after last week, but I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful that last week's game will serve as a wake up call to the team, that they will have an excellent week of preparation, and that they will come out fired up against Virginia. I'll take Wake Forest to win 20-17.

Big thanks to Robert and Blogger So Dear for chatting! Kick-off is at 3pm on the ACC Network.