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By Steven Wright, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeFB)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WakeForestSports.com) - Wake Forest opened the 2013 season with a performance not seen since 1944 by holding Presbyterian to just two first downs and defeating the Blue Hose 31-7 on Thursday night at BB&T Field.
Presbyterian (0-1) forced a three-and-out on the Demon Deacons' (1-0) first drive of the game and answered with a 66-yard run down to the Wake Forest four-yard line on its first play from scrimmage by Demarcus Rouse. The Blue Hose punched it in three plays later on a one-yard pass by Tamyn Garrick to Kris Hurley, but the Deacs did not allow Presbyterian to move the chains again until the 14:22 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Wake Forest defense also forced six Presbyterian turnovers on the night. Brandon Chubb, Mike Olson and Kevin Johnson all intercepted a pass, and Chubb ran his back 29 yards for a touchdown. The Blue Hose also lost three fumbles, with Olson and Nikita Whitlock each forcing a fumble and Josh Banks, James Looney and Justin Jackson each recovering one.
In between Presbyterian first downs, redshirt freshman Jonathan Williams recorded more receiving yards than any other Demon Deacon in school history in their collegiate debut. Williams caught five passes for 143 yards, including a 53-yard reception, a 42-yard reception and a 33-yard reception.
Orville Reynolds also caught five passes for 30 yards, while Tanner Price went 14-for-25 for 219 yards and a touchdown pass to Spencer Bishop. Price also ran the ball 14 times for 31 yard and a touchdown.
True freshman John Armstrong led the team on the ground with six carries for 38 yards, while seven other Demon Deacons ran the ball for at least 10 yards.
After Presbyterian went up 7-0, the Deacs cut into the deficit on a 31-yard field goal by Chad Hedlund with 2:16 remaining in the first quarter. Price and Bishop connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the second quarter, and Price ran one in from three yard at the 3:18 mark to give Wake Forest a 17-7 lead at halftime.
Chubb's 29-yard interception return put Wake Forest up 24-7 with 11:33 on the clock in the third quarter, and Josh Wilhite scored on a 21-yard run on his first-career carry with 12:46 remaining in the game.
Under head coach Jim Grobe, Wake Forest had never played more than three true freshman in a season, but the Demon Deacons saw nine true freshman play in the season opener, including John Armstrong, Cory Helms, Marquel Lee, Deonte Davis, Brad Watson, James Looney, Josh T. Harris, Jalen Latter and Charles Argenzio.
Wake Forest will be on the road next week when it begins ACC play on Friday night at Boston College at 8 p.m.