Swank's 41-yard Field Goal Lifts #20 Wake Forest Past Ole Miss
Sept. 6, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM - Sam Swank's 41-yard field with three seconds left gave No. 20 Wake Forest a thrilling 30-28 victory over Ole Miss in the Deacons home opener Saturday afternoon. The win was the 400th win all-time for the Wake Forest program.
Swank's heroics came after Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead scrambled out of the pocket and found Cordera Eason for a touchdown on 4th and 3, giving the Rebels a 28-21 lead with 1:01 remaining in the game.
Wake Forest junior Riley Skinner then completed 4-of-8 passes to lead the Deacs down to the Ole Miss 23-yard line, setting up Swank's game winning kick. Swank is now 5-of-5 on the season in field goal attempts and he has now made his last nine dating back to last season.
Skinner finished the game 32-of-43 for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Both his 32 completions and 43 attempts were career-highs. He also extended his school record for wins by a starting quarterback to 20.
Senior wideout D.J. Boldin had a career-high 11 catches for a career-high 123 yards. Boldin had a key 22-yard first down reception on the final drive.
For Ole Miss, Jevan Snead completed 20-of-31 passes for 253 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
On the ground, redshirt freshman Brendon Pendergrass had eight carries for a career-high 49 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Josh Adams ran the ball 12 times for 43 yards.
The teams played even all afternoon as the lead changed hands a total of six times. The total offense was fairly even as well, as the Rebels gained 360 yards compared to 348 for the Deacons.
On the opening drive, the Deacs picked up a first down but stalled out around midfield. Swank's punt hit the foot of an Ole Miss player and senior Chip Vaughn recovered the fumble on the Ole Miss 14-yard line. Two plays later, Skinner hit Josh Harris in the left corner of the endzone for his second career touchdown reception and his first since the opening game last season at Boston College. Swank then connected on his 112th consecutive extra point to give the Deacs an early 7-0 lead.
On Ole Miss'third possession, Snead led the Rebels on a 94-yard touchdown drive aided by a trick play out of the "Wild Rebel" formation. The drive started with a Wake Forest personal foul penalty and then Snead hit Mike Wallace for a key 27-yard pass on 3rd and 9.
One play later, Brandon Bolden got the ball on an end around, then pitched it to Snead who rolled to the middle of the field and found Bolden down the right sideline. Bolden was finally wrestled down at the Wake Forest four yard line, setting up a first and goal. Snead then hit Gerald Harris on a crossing route in the back of the endzone to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:12 to go in the first quarter.
On the Rebels next possession, they took the ball from their own 17-yard line and marched 83 yards on nine plays to take the lead 14-7. Snead avoided a near sack and found Hodge for the 28-yard touchdown reception. Hodge out jumped Alex Frye in the endzone for his third touchdown grab of the season.
On the drive, Snead completed two passes to Dexter McCluster, including a key 17-yard connection on 3rd and 9 from midfield. The Rebels were 3-of-5 on third down conversions in the first half.
After the team's traded punts, the Deacs ate up 7:52, converting a pair of third downs and a fourth and inches, ultimately ending in a Swank 21-yard field with just one second left in the half. Swank went over 300 career points with the field goal and the teams would head into halftime with Ole Miss in front 14-10.
The Wake Forest drive lasted 16 plays and was highlighted by a ten-yard pass to Wooster and a pair of seven-yard receptions by Boldin. Adams also ran for 17 yards and caught three passes for six yards on the drive.
In the first half, Ole Miss held the advantage in total yards at 199 to 137, with most of the damage coming on first down. The Rebels averaged 9.1 yards on first down compared to just 2.8 for the Deacs.
The Rebels took the opening drive of the second half out to midfield, but Snead's pass down the right sideline was picked off by safety Kevin Patterson at the Wake Forest 24-yard line. The interception was the fourth career interception by Patterson.
The Deacons picked up a first down on the first play of the drive but a sack halted the drive after just four plays.
The Rebels tried another trick play out of the "Wild Rebel" formation on the ensuing drive as McCluster took the direct snap, slipped through a tackle and floated a pass toward Mike Wallace. Junior Brandon Ghee jumped in front of the wobbly pass for his first career interception.
Starting the drive at the Ole Miss 44-yard line after the interception, Boldin made a nice diving catch down to the 17-yard line but unfortunately, the Deacs could not get any closer and would have to settle for a 27-yard Swank field goal, pulling Wake within one at 14-13 with 6:18 to play in the third quarter.
After an Ole Miss punt, Wake drove 41 yards on seven plays, culminating in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Marshall Williams to take a 20-14 lead. Skinner stood tall in the pocket and lofted a perfectly thrown ball to Williams in the left corner of the endzone. The touchdown grab was William's first of his career.
The momentum had looked to swing the way of the Deacs as the defense forced an Ole Miss punt but on the return, Alphonso Smith was hit by Jamareca Sanford and lost the ball. The Rebels recovered the fumble on the Wake Forest 30-yard line.
The turnover proved costly, as two plays later, Snead scrambled out of the pocket and hit McCluster who found his way into the endzone, for Snead's third touchdown pass of the game. The Rebels regained the lead 21-20 with 14:11 to play in the game.
Trailing by one, Pendergrass scampered in from 12 yards out to once again give the Deacons a six-point lead at 27-21. The touchdown run was set up by Pendergrass' career-long 20-yard run to the 25 and then a personal foul call that added 13 yards to the run. Pendergrass had 44 yards rushing on the drive, which went 80 yards on eight plays over 2:34.
Ole Miss's scoring drive that gave them the 28-27 lead covered 80 yards and chewed up seven minutes, setting up the Deacons game-winning drive.
Wake Forest starts the season 2-0 for the fourth time in eight years under Jim Grobe.
After a week off, the Deacons will look for a 3-0 start as they open ACC play at Florida State on Saturday, September 20. The Deacs have won the last two meetings against the Seminoles, including 30-0 in Tallahassee in 2006.