A week into game prep, Mississippi State knows a good bit now about Wake Forest, its opponent in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30. As you can read in today’s Daily Journal, the Bulldogs feel prepared enough to play this week.
Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson notes in the story that, at least on his side of the ball, “Probably 85 to 90 percent of our game plan’s in.” Now it’s just a matter of polishing it up next week in Nashville, where MSU will report Dec. 26 (that’s next Monday).
Today marks the final practice before players and coaches leave town for the holidays. It’ll be like a normal Thursday practice – helmets only doing “mock game” work, as Dan Mullen called it.
So, just how much does MSU know about Wake Forest? Let’s find out a little.
• The offense is led by quarterback Tanner Price, who’s posted strong numbers while taking care of the football: 229 of 376 (60.9 percent) for 2,803 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. His 233.6 yards per game ranks third in the ACC.
“What he does is he makes great decisions,” Wilson said. “He may give up a sack, but he’s very good on protecting the football, not allowing turnovers and scoring points in the red zone.”
Wake Forest ranks fourth in the ACC in red zone offense, scoring on 41 of 49 trips (26 TDs, 15 field goals).
• Defensively, Wake hasn’t been that strong, giving up 399.1 yards and 27.8 points per game, both of which rank 10th in the ACC. It’s not a very big group, but the Bulldogs say they see some speed out there.
“They all run. They’re not outstandingly big,” offensive coordinator Les Koenning said. “You look at their down (linemen) and their linebackers, they’re all within 20-30 pounds of each other.”
So it’ll be a matchup of MSU’s physicality and size versus Wake’s speed and, well, whatever else it has.
“They’re pretty fast up front and pretty fast in the secondary,” quarterback Chris Relf said.
I’ll look more closely at Wake’s offense and defense – and what the Bulldogs think of them – in the coming days.