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Nov. 24, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Jordan Rodgers threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and Zac Stacy ran for a season-high 180 yards and two scores as Vanderbilt defeated Wake Forest 55-21 on Saturday.
Vanderbilt (8-4) scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions to take a 28-7 lead at halftime and never looked back. Wesley Tate added two scores, and Jordan Matthews had 10 catches for 144 yards in the first half, including a 64-yard touchdown reception from Rodgers.
Wake Forest (5-7) needed a win to become bowl eligible for the second straight season but struggled slowing down the stretch, losing to North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.
Tanner Price threw for 182 yards in the loss.
Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro caught eight passes for 98 yards before leaving in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury.
Vanderbilt looked dominant from the start.
Picking up where it left off in last week's 41-18 win over Tennessee, Vanderbilt took the opening kickoff and marched 85 yards on 11 plays and take a 7-0 lead. Using a handful of direct snaps to Stacy, Vanderbilt easily converted a pair of fourth downs along the way before Rodgers hit a wide-open Tate along the right sideline for a 25-yard touchdown.
Wake Forest bounced back, driving 71 yards on 16 plays to tie the game at 7 on fullback Tommy Bohanon's fourth-down touchdown run from the 1.
But the rest of the half belonged to Vanderbilt.
After Tate made it 14-7 on a 14-yard run, Rodgers hooked up with Matthews on a 64-yard scoring play that seemed to take the life out of the Demon Deacons. Rodgers' throw appeared intended for a receiver Chris Boyd, who was double covered on a fly route down the middle. Matthews, sensing the ball was underthrown, broke off his route and came across the field to make a leaping grab and race final the 25 yards to the end zone untouched.
Then Vanderbilt's defense got into the act as linebacker Colt Nichter forced a Sherman Ragland fumble at the Wake Forest 37.
It took only five plays for the Commodores to capitalize as Stacy, the school's all-time leading rusher, scored on a 4-yard run.
Matthews was nearly unstoppable in the first half.
He came into the game red hot with a combined 16 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns in wins against the Tennessee and Ole Miss. Wake Forest simply had no answer for him. Fearful he might beat them deep, defensive backs gave him extra space, and Matthews cut off his routes with precision and hauled in easy first-down catches from Rodgers.
Things only got worse in the second half for Wake Forest.
After their first drive ended in a three-and-out, Andrew Williamson blocked Alexander Kinal's punt, and Casey Hughes recovered in the end zone for a touchdown to make it 35-7.
Casey Spear added field goals of 52 and 50 yards for Vanderbilt in the second half, and Jonathan Krause returned a punt 83 yards for another score. Stacy went over 1,000 yards season for the season with a 90-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to put Vanderbilt up 55-14.