Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman a huge challenge for Boston College defense

For the first time in weeks, the Boston College defense won’t go up against a run-pass option dual-threat quarterback.

What they are getting instead on Saturday is the best pure pocket passer in the ACC.

BC will celebrate Senior Day when it takes on the No. 21-ranked Demon Deacons of Wake Forest in the season finale (noon) at Alumni Stadium.

Wake Forest (9-2, 6-1 ACC) can clinch the Atlantic Division and secure a berth in the ACC Championship Game with a victory. BC (6-5, 2-5) is already bowl eligible but would enhance its standing with a win over a ranked opponent.

The Deacons are led by sophomore quarterback Sam Hartman, who is the third-rated passer in the ACC with 3,475 yards. Hartman trails Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong (4,044) and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett (3,857), a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

“We faced a lot of teams that run the quarterback lately but this is a team where the quarterback wants to throw it before he runs it,” said BC coach Jeff Hafley. “I feel like it’s been a while, I feel like I’m kind of back in the NFL where someone wants to throw the ball 40-plus times.”

Hartman has completed 235-of-391 passes for a 60.1 completion percentage with 31 touchdowns and a stellar 156.3 passer rating. Hartman’s primary target is wide receiver A.T. Perry, who has 52 receptions for 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns, second in the ACC behind Pittsburgh’s Jordan Addison (15). Pittsburgh has already clinched the Coastal Division and could face Wake Forest in the ACC title game.

“It’s a challenge to our DBs and our linebackers whether it is man or zone,” said Hafley. “It’s a challenge to the D-line to try and get pressure and you have to get pressure.

“You can’t just sit back there because he is really good, he gets rid of the ball on time. They are a very explosive offense and they want to throw the ball down the field more than any team we’ve played. In my opinion it starts with the quarterback, he runs the offense.”

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson employs an efficient multiple pro-style offense aptly dubbed the “Clawfense” and described by offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero as “a variable tempo running game.”

The Deacons are second in the ACC in scoring offense with 474 points for a 43.1 points per game average with 60 touchdowns. They are rated third in total offense with 5,390 total yards for a 490 yard per game average. Wake Forest has posted 4,292 passing yards and 1,840 on the ground.

“I think they are well-coached and I have a lot of respect for coach Clawson in a lot ways,” said Hafley. “In the way he develops guys and coaches the same scheme with guys that have been around for a long time.”

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