Wake Forest needs to convert when there are chances for big-yardage plays on offense.
The Demon Deacons failed to do so in the Pittsburgh game, resulting in a loss in the home finale. Making good on the potential for explosive play will be one of the priorities in the regular-season finale at Duke.
Because of Wake Forest's style change in order to reduce the number of snaps, it puts more emphasis on taking advantage of situations that could result in huge plays.
"We're playing slow on offense to try to keep our defense rested," Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. "But when your defense can't get off the field on third down, that's where the lack of depth really kills us."
Wake Forest's offense had a season-low 58 snaps in the loss to Pittsburgh. That's a sharp contrast for a team that at the beginning of the season stressed the importance of running up the play count. The Demon Deacons have had seven games with at least 80 snaps this year.
Redshirt sophomore Jamie Newman will make his third career start in the Duke game. He received tons of praise for the late-game drive that resulted in an upset of North Carolina State in his first start since Sam Hartman went out with an injury.
But the Pittsburgh game was defined by a few missed throws.
"We had Greg (Dortch) wide-open down the sidelines, overthrew it," Clawson said. "We had Scotty (Washington) wide-open down the sidelines and overthrew that. Our passing game was just never in sync."
Clawson said it's a matter of getting Newman in the right rhythm and with controlled energy.
"He was just so hyped up and so pumped up, the ball was flying off his hand and sailing," Clawson said. "He never got in a rhythm. He never got comfortable."
There's lots at stake for Wake Forest (5-6, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), which must win to become bowl eligible for the third year in a row.
This matchup has a similar tone to last year's regular-season finale when the teams met, though the roles are reversed.
A year ago, Duke was on the road needing to win to become bowl eligible while Wake Forest was already assured of a bowl berth. Duke delivered with a victory.
This is the fourth time in a five-year stretch that the in-state rivals meet to conclude the regular season.