Wake Forest and Texas A&M will play each other in the 2017 Belk Bowl. Wake Forest is playing in its second straight bowl game, while the Aggies are making their ninth straight bowl appearance. Here is the 2017 Belk Bowl preview:
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5)
The Demon Deacons beat four bowl eligible teams on their way to seven total wins. Their biggest wins came over N.C. State and Louisville, which shows that they can beat some quality teams.
Offensively, Wake Forest was able to score 33.7 points per game. They were able to lean on the ground game, which ranks 45th in the country in rushing yards per game. Running back Matt Colburn has 745 rushing yards and six touchdowns as the leading rusher. Quarterback John Wolford helps out with 615 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
Wolford also leads a pretty good passing attack that averages 266.6 passing yards per game. This season, Wolford has thrown for 2,792 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions on 63.7% completion. He has protected the football well, which has paid off. Several receivers produce for Wolford, but the leading receiver is Greg Dortch. Dortch has 722 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Tight end Cam Serigne produces in the red zone with eight touchdowns catches this season.
The defense allows 26.3 points per game. They rank 92nd against the run and 103rd against the pass. Senior defensive end is the best player on the defense with 14.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks on the season. He will be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Texas A&M Aggies (7-5)
Kevin Sumlin is out and Jimbo Fisher is in at Texas A&M. Coaching changes always make a weird impact on bowl games, but Texas A&M should have the talent and matchup to not let it get to them. In their seven wins this season, they were only able to beat one bowl eligible team.
The offense averages 32.8 points per game, but it hasn’t been pretty. Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford provide a decent duo in the backfield. Williams has 733 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while Ford has 493 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Quarterback Kellen Mond runs when he can and has 340 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Nick Starkel has been the main quarterback when healthy for the Aggies. He has 1,294 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions on 57% completion. The freshman has played well at times and has had a great receiver in Christian Kirk to lean on. Kirk, despite the inconsistencies at quarterback, has 796 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He is also a huge help in the return game for the Aggies.
Their defense isn’t as good as in years past and allow 28.7 points per game. They rank 64th against the run and 66th against the pass. Armani Watts has been a mainstay in the secondary for four years. This season 87 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four interceptions and five passes defended.
The Texas A&M defense will make plays to stop Wake Forest and then the playmakers on Texas A&M will do their part. Starkel isn’t the greatest quarterback, but he is serviceable. If Kirk touches the ball a lot, the Aggies will be able to win.
Texas A&M Aggies 29 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 23
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