AccuScore has run more than 10,000 simulations for every bowl game for Yahoo! Sports, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. Here's AccuScore.com's analysis of the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Baseline: Wake Forest 51%, UConn 49%; Score: Wake Forest 25, UConn 24
Connecticut was one of the surprise teams of the season, starting out 8-1 before losing two of three to close out the year. Wake Forest finished 8-4 in another solid season under coach Jim Grobe, who has been linked to several other high-profile jobs because of that success. This game should be a close affair as the Demon Deacons are slight favorites according to AccuScore simulations. The average margin is under a point although more than 50% of simulations are being decided by at least 10 points.
Connecticut quarterback Tyler Lorenzen is throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown and likes to spread the ball out. Terence Jeffers should get the most receptions, but Lorenzen will also get D.J. Hernandez and Andrew Dixon involved. When not passing, the Huskies will look to the running back duo of Dixon and Donald Brown to combine for 160 yards on roughly 35 carries.
Wake Forest will start Riley Skinner under center. He is throwing for a modest 140 yards with more interceptions than touchdowns. The Wake Forest running game is projected to gain more than 100 yards, led by Josh Adams and supported by Micah Andrews and Kenneth Moore.
UConn's pass protection is key to the game
The key to this game is pass protection. The Huskies don't do a great job protecting Lorenzen. They rank just 78th in the country in sacks allowed (28) and are projected to give up another 2.5 against Wake Forest. AccuScore tweaked the numbers to artificially improve UConn's pass protection by narrowing its sacks allowed for this game to one per simulation.
With the improved pass protection, the Huskies' win probability increased 4% and made them the favorite by winning 53% of all simulations.
|With no sacks||53%||1.0|
Can Josh Adams be a workhorse?
Both Adams and Andrews had more than 100 carries this season for Wake Forest, but Adams put up better numbers overall. Adams averaged 4.4 yards per carry compared to just 3.3 yards for Andrews. Adams also scored 11 touchdowns while Andrews had only two. Because Wake Forest rotates its backs, it is safe to assume Adams' numbers are improved since he is able to stay fresh throughout games by sharing carries. Adams is also just a freshman, so Grobe may be wary of relying on his younger inexperienced player too much too soon. However, if Adams were able to produce the same numbers as a workhorse getting 80% of the team's carries, AccuScore would give the substantial edge in the game to Wake Forest.
With Adams getting the lion's share of carries, Wake Forest's winning percentage jumps up to 60%. Adams is clearly the most talented player for Wake Forest in the backfield, but there must be a reason why Grobe continues to go to other players.
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