Jim Grobe's Wake Forest Demon Deacons have been a surprise in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season; after a rough 3-9 campaign in 2010, the Deacs have already won five games in 2011 and should be bowl eligible before long. The biggest reason for the turnaround is Wake's offense, and more specifically, sophomore quarterback Tanner Price.
Price has been more accurate, efficient, and less prone to mistakes this season. He also has the benefit of wide receiver Chris Givens, who ranks 8th in the nation with 928 receiving yards. The ground game has been a liability for most of the year, but the improvements from Price have been enough to carry the offense forward.
They've improved on the other side of the ball as well, though they are undersized. Grobe's 3-3-5 defenses have in the past caused turnovers in bunches, which is not something this year's Notre Dame team wants to hear, but the Deacs haven't been so fortunate in the takeaway department of late.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, has had one of the stranger--or more painful--starts in college football this year, partially because of its turnover problems. Or its tendency to commit them in the red zone. The Irish out-gained both South Florida and Michigan but were doomed by five turnovers in each game. While they haven't really fixed the turnover problem, they have won five of six and they have a great opportunity to make it six of seven on Saturday.
But strange things can happen to road favorites in Winston-Salem--just ask Florida State.
For more on Saturday's matchup, head over to SB Nation's Notre Dame blog, One Foot Down, and SB Nation's Wake Forest blog, Blogger So Dear. For more news and notes from around college football, check out SB Nation's college football hub.