Wake wallops the Orange: their 38-14 win is the team's 4th in a row
Preview: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-2, 2-2) vs Syracuse Orange (1-5, 1-4)
Entering today's Halloween afternoon conference tilt (October 31st), the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and Syracuse Orange is a tale of two teams putting a "scare" on people; one team is gradually putting a scare in the opposition, while the other is hoping to demolish their season-long house of horrors.
The Deacs enter today's game winning 3 in a row, including last week's 23-16 win against the #19 Virginia Tech Hokies. Quarterback Sam Hartman's solid play (1,003 passing yards along with 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions), along with the running back tandem of Kenneth Walker III (449 rushing yards with 8 touchdowns along with averaging 5.0 yards per carry) and Christian Beal-Smith (385 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns and an equally solid average of 5.4 yards per carry) set the tone for the offense. Receivers Jaquarii Roberson (360 receiving yards, averaging 13.8 yards per reception) and Donavon Greene (averaging 21.3 yards per catch) are among those who contribute to an offense averaging 39.4 points per game. All-American defensive lineman Carlos "Boogie" Basham, Jr (who has the nation's longest streak of 23 consecutive games recording a tackle for loss), team captain Ja'Sir Taylor (one of 2 Deacons who have returned interceptions for touchdowns), and Freshman walk-on starter and ball-hawk Nick Anderson (21 tackles and 3 interceptions) are among those who are spearheading a resurgent defense.
While showing flashes of competitive play before their 2nd half fade against Clemson (losing 47-21 in their October 24th matchup), the Orange are hoping to halt their 3-game losing streak. Quarterback Rex Culpepper (499 passing yards along with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions) and Anthony Queeley (220 receiving yards) are focused on making a statement in today's game, as they are without the services of Freshman running back Sean Tucker (362 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry). Freshman defensive back Garrett Williams (27 tackles and 5 passes defended) and linebacker Mikel Jones (24 tackles and 3 interceptions) look to lead the defensive against one of the conference's better offenses.
First Half Highlights: Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Syracuse Orange
The Deacs open the game and 1st quarter with a 13-play 60-yard drive. Key plays including Sam Hartman's 20-yard completion to Jaquarii Roberson (on a 3rd and 6) and a 11-yard run by Christian Beal-Smith to the Syracuse 14 gives them a red zone opportunity. Even though Tyrell Richards' sack stops the drive, Nick Sciba's 33-yard field goal gives them an early 3-0 lead. After the defense holds the Orange to a 3-and-out, Wake marches 64 yards for their second consecutive scoring drive. Highlighted by a 15-yard run by Hartman and capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Kenneth Walker III, the Deacs open up a 10-0 lead.
After 4 combined drives by both teams ending in punts, Syracuse benefits from outstanding field position setup by a 26-yard return by Nykeim Johnson to the Wake 36-yard line. Four plays later, a 21-yard touchdown pass by Rex Culpepper to Johnson gets the Orange with 3 points (10-7 with 4:17 left in the 2nd quarter/1st half). After an exchange of possessions ending in punts, Wake strikes quickly and starts to have momentum swing in their favor. The offense has a 4-play scoring drive of their own, featuring a pair of completions to Taylor Morin (for 26 yards) and capped off by a pair of runs, including a 20-yard touchdown run by Kenneth Walker III (his second of the game), making it a 17-7 game with 1:19 left in the quarter/half. On the subsequent kickoff, a fumble recovery by the Deacs' Miles Fox halts any ideas of the Orange to cut into the lead, maintaining a 10 point advantage over Syracuse.
Second Half Highlights: Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Syracuse Orange
Syracuse has the ball to start the 2nd half/3rd quarter. After a 3-and-out, Wake picks up where they left off.
Their 3-play 85-yard scoring drive (in 1:01) is accentuated by an 80-yard strike by Sam Hartman to Jaquarii Roberson, giving the Deacs a 24-7 lead (with 12:41 in the 3rd quarter). On Syracuse's subsequent drive, on the very next play, Gavin Holmes intercepts Rex Culpepper's pass for a 32-yard touchdown, the team's 3rd pick-6 of the season, adding to the lead (31-7 with 12:32 left in the 3rd quarter).
After Wake's defense produces another 3-and-out, their nearly 6 minute drive results in another scoring drive. Keyed by 3 penalties by Syracuse (including a 15-yard personal foul penalty putting the ball on the Orange 22-yard line) and a 22-yard completion by Hartman to Donavon Greene, Kenneth Walker III closes out the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, his 3rd of the game, making it a 38-7 lead with with 3:09 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Orange would add a late touchdown (3:11 left in the 4th quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass by JaCobian Morgan to Luke Benson) as the Deacs earn their 4th win a row (38-14).
Recap: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-2, 3-2) defeat the Syracuse Orange (1-6, 1-5) by a 38-14 score.
The Deacons essentially are in control of this game.
Their offense outgains Syracuse (438 to 221 total yards), with clear advantages in the passing (250 to 142) and running (188 to 79) game. The Deacs are able to win the time of possession battle (36:14 to 23:46); on defense, in forcing 3 turnovers, Wake improves their turnover ratio to +14, clearly putting them among the best in the country. One area of note is both teams have a similar number of penalties (the Orange have 8 penalties for 81 yards, while the Deacs commit 7 penalties for 57 yards).
Quarterback Sam Hartman has another steady game to pace the passing game (completing 19 of 33 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown). Wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson has a stellar effort (7 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown) and even though neither running back breaks the 100-yard mark, Kenneth Walker III (16 carries for 79 yards with 3 touchdowns) and Christian Beal-Smith (19 carries for 87 yards) respectively average 4.9 and 4.6 yards per carry, nearly mirroring their season averages. Defensive back Trey Rucker (8 tackles), linebacker Jacquez Williams (6 tackles and a sack), Ryan Smenda, Jr (5 tackles and a sack), and Nick Andersen (5 tackles) are among those on defense who help Wake stay in control of the game.
Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper completes 15 of 27 passes for 85 yards. He does throw a touchdown, but throws 2 interceptions, including the pick-6 to Wake's Gavin Holmes. While at the end of the game, JaCobian Morgan's effort (completing all 7 of his pass attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown) provides something the team may build upon. Cooper Lutz, who entered the game averaging 2.3 yards on 15 carries, has a steady effort on the ground (15 carries for 81 yards). Defensively, Garrett Williams collects 9 tackles and a sack to lead the Orange.
Wake's next game is a road contest against the 14th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (4-1, 4-1 entering tonight's game against Virginia) on November 14, 2020 (time to be determined). Syracuse focuses on bouncing back at home against Boston College (4-3, 3-3, as they narrowly lose to Clemson by a 34-28 margin in their game today).
Photo and video credit: ACC Media Portal
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman has another steady performance. His 250 passing yards includes a touchdown and zero interceptions.
The Deacs' Jaquarii Roberson on one of his 7 receptions which pace the receiver corps.
Wake's Kenneth Walker III on the run. His 79 yards on the ground include 3 rushing touchdowns.
The Deacons' Jaquarii Roberson outdistances the Syracuse defense on this 80-yard touchdown reception.
Wake linebacker Jacquez Williams (6 tackles and a sack) and defensive end Jacorey Johns celebrate after making a big play. The defense forced 3 turnovers, including a pick-6 (interception).
Deacon defensive back and team captain Ja'Sir Taylor shut down the Orange offense (221 total yards allowed).
Head coach Dave Clawson (Wake Forest) focuses on "1-0" every week. Today, it happened for the 4th game in a row.
Wake's line, also known as the "Beef Boys", hold their own throughout the game.
Christian Beal-Smith (87 rushing yards), along with Kenneth Walker III, form a solid tandem to lead Wake's rushing attack.
The Deacs' defensive line and team defense look up as they turn in another sound effort resulting in today's win.