TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Prediction
Wake Forest is a massive favorite in Friday’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at 11:00 a.m. ET. Will the Demon Deacons cover or will Rutgers hang as the underdog and fill in opponent for Wake?
294 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-17) vs. 293 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+17); o/u 62.5
11:00 a.m. ET, Friday, December 31, 2021
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Game Notes
Wake Forest redshirt sophomore QB Sam Hartman completed 21-of-46 passes for 213 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions in Saturday’s 45-21 loss to Pittsburgh. You knew this would be an offensive battle as these are the country's third and fourth highest-scoring offenses. Hartman started off great as his first touchdown came when he was flushed out of the pocket and threw it on his back leg to an open A.T. Perry for five yards to tie this game up at seven. He saw his counterpart Pickett rush for a touchdown and Demon Deacons rushing touchdown leader needed to get in on the fun as he had a run for 11 yards. In the first half, it looked like this game would be a shootout as both quarterbacks had three total touchdowns, but in the second half, each offense stalled. Pickett and Hartman started to see some pressure at the line, and long throws he was hitting earlier in the game, were getting contested. This game remained close most of the second half before Pitt would score a touchdown to take a 31-21 lead. This would be the decisive moment. While Pickett flourished, Hartman continued to struggle as he would throw a costly interception that would be returned to the Wake Forest two-yard line that was converted into a touchdown. On the next possession deep in their own territory, the Panthers read the throw perfectly again from Hartman as it was intercepted, but this time for the pick-six.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Game Notes
Rutgers redshirt freshman QB Johnny Langan completed a 31-yard pass and ran for a touchdown, but it wasn't enough to send the Scarlet Knights to their first bowl since 2014. Langan was one of three quarterbacks that saw the field for Rutgers in the season finale, as neither Evan Simon (7 of 14 for 86 yards) or Noah Vedral (8 of 15 for 56 yards) could get much going through the air. Langan completed his lone pass attempt and added four rushes for eight yards, including a 1-yard score that trimmed the Maryland lead to 20-9 in the third quarter. But Rutgers would reach the end zone just once more in a 40-16 home loss. The Scarlet Knights (5-7) were looking to earn their first postseason trip since the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl, but instead will settle for a disappointing end to their best season in the second installment under HC Greg Schiano.
Wake Forest vs. Rutgers Betting Prediction
The Demon Deacons are just 1-4 against the spread in their last four games against Big Ten opponents, are 1-4 against the number in their last five neutral site games and are 0-4 at the betting window in their last four games in December. On the other side, the Scarlet Knights are 7-1-1 against the spread in their last nine bowl games, are 5-1 against the number in their last six neutral site games as an underdog and have covered in four straight non-conference games.
TAXSLAYER GATOR BOWL BETTING PREDICTION: RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS +17