Deacs are Bowling After 64-43 Win at Syracuse
Nov. 11, 2017
By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeFB)
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Wake Forest clinched bowl eligibility with a 64-43 victory at Syracuse Saturday afternoon. The Demon Deacons (6-4, 3-3 ACC) recorded their sixth win with another explosive day by the offense, which scored the most points by an opponent in the Carrier Dome, while shattering a school-record with 734 yards of total offense.
John Wolford tied his school-record with six touchdowns responsible by running for three and passing for three. He threw for 363 yards, his third consecutive 300-yard game, while posting his first career 100-yard rushing game, with a career-high 136 yards on the ground.
Matt Colburn ran for a career-high 237 yards, the most by a Demon Deacon since Josh Harris had 241 yards at Virginia Tech in 2010. Cam Serigne set a school record for touchdown catches by a tight end with three, highlighting a 7-catch, 119-yard day. He was joined in the 100-yard receiving club by Tabari Hines (9-catches for 124 yards) and Scotty Washington (7-catches for 113 yards) as the Deacs had three 100-yard receivers for the first time since 1981 (Phil Denfield, Kenny Duckett and Tommy Gregg vs. Maryland).
The 734 yards of total offense broke the school record by over 100 yards, previously set in 1968 with 632 yards against North Carolina . It is fifth-highest single-game total in FBS this season. Three of the seven highest total offense performances in Wake Forest history have now come this season (734 at Syracuse [1st], 625 vs. Louisville [3rd] and 588 vs. Utah State [7th]). The Demon Deacons' attack against the Orange was balanced with 371 yards on the ground and 363 yards through the air.
The Demon Deacons' 64 points are tied for ninth-most in school history and are the second most against an ACC foe, trailing only a 66-21 win over Virginia in 1975. The game also marked the first time in the ACC era (since 1953) that Wake Forest has scored at least 37 points in three consecutive games of the same season. The 107 combined points Saturday set a record for a Wake Forest game, surpassing an 82-24 loss at Clemson in 1981.
The Wake Forest offense jumped out to a quick start, scoring on its first three possessions. Wolford and Colburn each ran for a 3-yard touchdown and Wolford found Serigne for a 31-yard touchdown pass as the Demon Deacons posted 21 first-quarter points. However, in between the Wake Forest touchdowns, the Orange scored twice on a 43-yard run by Dontae Strickland and a 19-yard pass from Zack Mahoney to Ravian Pierce, as the Deacs held a 21-14 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
Syracuse responded with a strong second quarter. Early in the period, the Orange drew even on a 1-yard run by Chris Elmore and took its first lead, 28-21, on a 30-yard pass from Mahoney to Steve Ishmael. A 30-yard field goal pushed the Syracuse advantage to 31-21. Late in the half, an 18-yard pass from Mahoney to Pierce pushed the advantage to 38-21. After a touchback, the Deacs got the ball back with 16 seconds, and a 44-yard pass from Wolford to Hines and an 8-yard run from Colburn set up a 41-yard field goal from Mike Weaver cut the deficit to 38-24 at the half.
The opening drives of the second half produced matching field goals, a 43-yarder from Weaver and a 47-yarder from Cole Murphy of Syracuse to keep the margin at two scores, 41-27. The Demon Deacons cut the lead in half as Wolford's second touchdown run, this one from nine yards out, made the score 41-34. With just over a minute left in the quarter, Wolford threw his second touchdown pass to Serigne, but the extra point was blocked and returned for a 2-point conversion by Syracuse, who led 43-40 after three quarters.
After Syracuse missed a long field goal on the opening series of the final quarter, the Deacs took advantage of the good field position. On a 4th-and-1, Wolford kept the ball and ran 29 yards for his third rushing touchdown of the game to give Wake Forest a 47-43 lead. With Syracuse driving for a potential go-ahead score, Jaboree Williams grabbed his first career interception and returned it 52 yards to the Orange 20-yard-line. Wake Forest capitalized with a 6-yard pass from Wolford to Serigne to extend the lead to 54-43. After the Deacs forced a 4-and-out to take over on the Orange 30-yard line, they used the short field to add a 30-yard Weaver field goal to extend the lead to 57-43 with 4:58 to play. As Syracuse drove the ball into the red zone, Justin Strnad intercepted a Mahoney throw to stop the threat. As Wake Forest looked to run out the clock, Colburn broke a 76-yard touchdown run on a 3rd-and-12 for the final touchdown of the day for the Deacs.
Rallying from down 17 points marked the fifth-largest comeback in school history and the largest since 2007 when the Deacs rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Maryland in overtime.
Wake Forest will conclude the regular season with a pair of home games. The Deacs host NC State next Saturday at 7:30 p.m., a game that will air on ESPNU. Wake Forest hosts Duke on Nov. 25 to end the regular season.
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