Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. NC State Wolfpack Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 11th 2023

North Carolina State has done some heavy lifting in the past couple of weeks, and there’s little room for a slip-up.

The Wolfpack visit struggling Wake Forest in an Atlantic Coast Conference game Saturday at Winston-Salem, N.C., with some big questions, however.

NC State (6-3, 3-2) has won back-to-back home games against Clemson and Miami, and those victories have allowed the Wolfpack to stay in the race for the second spot in the ACC championship game. Florida State is in first place in the conference at 7-0.

But the Wolfpack achieved those wins with MJ Morris at quarterback. Multiple outlets reported Tuesday, however, that Morris — 3-1 as the starter — has decided to sit out the rest of the year and redshirt his sophomore season.

Morris replaced Virginia transfer Brennan Armstrong at quarterback in the sixth game of the season. Armstrong, a graduate transfer, is likely to return to the lineup and reportedly took first-team reps on Tuesday.

All of this flux is news for NC State head coach Dave Doeren, who sang Morris’ praise in his weekly news conference on Monday.

“It is a game that requires so much. The more you play it, the better you get. He’s 3-1 as a starter. He’s really worked hard. I know he’ll continue to grow and get better.”

Wake Forest (4-5, 1-5) must win two of its final three games to reach bowl eligibility. This is the Demon Deacons’ home finale before trips to Notre Dame and Syracuse.

The Demon Deacons have lost five of their past six. Wake Forest never trailed until the final play in a 24-21 loss last Thursday at Duke.

“You’ve got to emphasize the positive, fix the negative,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “I’m glad we have an extra day or two. That one hurts. That one really stings, but that’s the job.”

The Demon Deacons have experienced offensive doldrums and dealt with injuries at quarterback. Inconsistencies surfaced at Duke.

“We had some turnovers in the second half, which is a shame because that was one of the better offensive performances that we’ve had in quite a while,” Clawson said. “But we couldn’t finish drives, we didn’t convert short yardage, we missed a couple of field goals.”

Mitch Griffis led the way for Wake with 241 yards passing, completing 16 of 19 throws.

NC State, meanwhile, has been stingy on defense in its last two games. The 20-6 victory against Miami last Saturday followed a 24-17 win over Clemson.

“If we stay on that page, if everybody has that mentality of ‘I want to make every single play,’ you can’t go wrong,” Wolfpack linebacker Payton Wilson said. “Everybody’s flying to the ball. Everybody’s doing their job and not pressing.”

NC State should be on full alert, having lost in its past three trips to Winston-Salem.

“It’s a rivalry game,” Clawson said. “It’s in November. You want to play with emotion, but you don’t want to play emotional.”

–Field Level Media