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Surprising Wake Forest hosts BC in pivotal ACC showdown

Oct 31, 2006 - 9:21 PM No. 16 Boston College (7-1) at No. 22 Wake Forest (7-1) 7:00 pm EST

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) - Boston College's involvement in a key conference game in November is not a surprise. That the game is against Wake Forest is.

The 16th-ranked Eagles and the 22nd-ranked Demon Deacons collide on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup that will go a long way in determining the Atlantic Division champion.

Boston College (7-1, 3-1 ACC Atlantic) has won four straight and is tied with Wake and Maryland at the top of the division standings, with Clemson at 4-2. The Terps visit "Death Valley" on Saturday, so the winner of the Eagles-Demon Deacons matchup has a realistic chance to be alone at the top of the standings.

The Eagles are coming off a 41-0 win over Buffalo. Quarterback Matt Ryan has been nursing a left foot injury and was given the day off against Buffalo to get ready for Boston College's stretch run. Ryan leads the ACC in total and passing offense.

The game figures to be a slugfest as Boston College and Wake Forest rank 14th and 16th, respectively, in the nation in scoring defense. The Demon Deacons (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic) are coming off a 24-17 win at North Carolina in which they needed their defense to save the day.

Linebacker Jon Abbate intercepted a pass in the end zone on the game's final play to preserve the victory over the Tar Heels and help the Demon Deacons to their first 7-1 start since 1979 and just the third in program history.

The Eagles lead the series, 6-5-2, and the last three meetings - two of them won by the Demon Deacons - have been decided by a total of 12 points. Last season, Boston College scored two TDs in the final 2:30 to pull out a 35-30 victory in Chestnut Hill.

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