Texas A&M seeks 1st bowl victory since 2014 vs Wake Forest
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Belk Bowl: Texas A&M (7-5) vs. Wake Forest (7-5), Dec. 29, 1 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)
Line: Wake Forest by 2 1/2
Series Record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Demon Deacons look to send senior quarterback John Wolford out with a victory and earn their second straight bowl win. Texas A&M will start a new era next season under new coach Jimbo Fisher. In the meantime, interim coach Jeff Banks will coach the team after Kevin Sumlin was fired on Nov. 26 after six seasons at the helm. Sumlin was 51-26 as head coach.
Texas A&M De Landis Durham vs. Wake Forest offensive line: The Aggies were tied for third in the nation with 40 sacks, led by Durham’s 8 +. That will put plenty of pressure on Wake Forest to keep Wolford upright. The Demon Deacons offensive line is not overly big, but has done a solid job this season allowing just 17 sacks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas A&M WR/PR Christian Kirk: He is the Aggies’ Mr. Everything. The first-team All-SEC junior ranks as the NCAA’s active leader in punt return average (18.6 avg) and recently became the first wide receiver in school history to surpass the 4,000-yard plateau in all-purpose yardage. Kirk leads the Aggies in receptions (58), yards receiving (730) and TD catches (7). He needs two catches for his third straight 60-catch season, which would tie a school record.
Wake Forest QB John Wolford: The second-team All-ACC selection is the only Wake Forest QB to start four season openers. He led the conference in passing efficiency with a 157.5 rating this season. He ranked third in the ACC in total offense at 309.7 yards per game and is sixth in yards passing per game at 253.8.
FACTS & FIGURES: Texas A&M has appeared in nine straight bowls, but hasn’t won a bowl game since 2014. … Aggies have won four games this season after trailing in the second half. … Both Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel will see action at quarterback for the Aggies. Mond is a dual threat QB, while Starkel is considered more of a pocket passer… RB Keith Ford leads Texas A&M with 11 touchdowns rushing. … Aggies K Daniel LaCamera is 17 of 20 on field goal attempts this season. … Wake Forest is 7-4 all-time in bowl games. … The Demon Deacons closed the regular season with a 31-23 win against Duke. … In its past 13 games, Wake Forest has averaged 33.7 points per game along with 179.6 yards rushing per game. … Wake Forest WR Greg Dortch will not play due to an injury. He had 53 catches for 772 yards and nine TDs before going down in Week 8 against Louisville. … TE Cam Serigne, a first-team All-ACC selection, has 1.963 career yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. … Wake Forest had the ACC’s top red zone offense.
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