After surviving the bye week, the Deacs are still undefeated and head back to BB&T Field this Saturday to take on the Louisville Cardinals. Wake Forest heads into this matchup looking to break two strange and unwanted streaks; Dave Clawson is trying to win his first game off of a bye week since coming to Wake Forest, and the Deacs are trying to win their first ACC conference game at home since beating NC State in 2017. Let’s look at a couple of players for the Cardinals who could stand in the way of ending said streaks.
Offense: Javian Hawkins | RS Fr. RB | #10
Javian Hawkins played in 3 games for the Cards his freshman year and finished the season with just 2 carries for 8 yards. This allowed him to take advantage of the new redshirt rule and take advantage he has; Hawkins is on pace to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark this season by over 300 yards. Not bad for a freshman. Through the first 5 games this year, Hawkins has run the ball 91 times for 562 yards (6.2 avg) and 2 TDs. He is also coming off a monster game against Boston College last week in which he ran for 172 yards and 1 TD on 25 carries, winning him ACC Running Back of the Week honors. As Louisville is a team that prefers the run to the pass (45 rushes to 25 passes per game), the Deacs should expect Hawkins to get plenty of carries on Saturday.
Defense: Rodjay Burns | RS Jr. OLB | #10
Rodjay Burns is an extremely versatile “Swiss army knife” style player who spent 1 year as a corner-back at Ohio State before transferring to Louisville. Burns is currently playing what the Cardinals refer to as the “Card” position in their 3-4 defensive scheme. That basically means he’s a linebacker that can do everything from rushing the quarterback, to stopping the run, to covering receivers down the field (not so different from what the Deacs do with Luke Masterson). Oh, and he also returns punts—he had a 45 yard punt return last year against the Deacs that set up a touchdown drive for Louisville. This season, Burns has recorded 24 total tackles and leads the team in both tackles for loss (4) and sacks (2). Because Burns has the ability to make plays in almost every facet of the game, he could have a huge impact on the outcome of Saturday’s game.