No. 20 Wake Forest Edges Ole Miss, 30-28
Sept. 6, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Sam Swank kicked a 41-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to cap a dramatic final minute and give No. 20 Wake Forest a 30-28 win over Mississippi on Saturday.
After Jevan Snead's 5-yard touchdown pass to Cordera Eason on fourth down with 1:01 left gave Ole Miss the lead, Riley Skinner led the Demon Deacons on a 56-yard drive, keyed by a pass interference penalty against Marshay Green.
Swank, the nation's active career leader with 65 field goals, calmly drilled the game-winning field goal for the sixth lead change of the game.
Skinner completed 32-of-43 passes for a career-high 348 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions, and D.J. Boldin caught 11 passes for 123 yards, including a 22-yard catch on the final drive.
The comeback avoided another embarrassing loss for the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was in danger of being without a ranked team next week if the Demon Deacons (2-0) followed last week's upset losses by Clemson and Virginia Tech.
The Rebels (1-1) were a minute away from giving first-year coach Houston Nutt a signature win in only his second season, when Snead led a 7-minute, 80-yard drive. Facing fourth-and-3 from the Wake Forest 5, Snead was quickly flushed out of the pocket, scrambled right, then left and back right again before finding Eason in the front of the end zone.
Justin Sparks' extra-point broke the tie, but the experienced Demon Deacons weren't finished.
Skinner's pass to Boldin gave the Demon Deacons hope. Then Green interfered with Josh Adams on Skinner's long pass intended for Josh Adams. That put Swank in position, and he kicked his fifth field goal without a miss in two games.
It set off a wild celebration in Wake Forest's first home game since the completion of a $47 million, seven-story tower that houses luxury suites, club seats and the press box at BB&T Field.
Snead showed poise all afternoon, completing 20-of-33 for 360 yards and three touchdowns, often creating after the pocket collapsed.
Snead scrambled away from a sack and found Dexter McCluster open in the flat, who raced past three defenders for a 31-yard touchdown to give Ole Miss a 21-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.
It made up for Snead throwing interceptions on consecutive plays early in the third quarter. The second, a diving grab by Brandon Ghee, led to Swank's 27-yard field goal to get Wake Forest within 14-13.
A three-and-out on the next possession gave Wake Forest great starting field position, and Skinner found Marshall Williams for a 24-yard TD pass to give Wake Forest a 20-14 lead.
Early, Nutt's "Wild Rebel" formation of direct snaps to running backs and receivers caused Wake Forest problems.
Nutt promised to add wrinkles to the formation, and a gimmick play set up the tying touchdown late in the first quarter. A direct snap to McCluster turned into a reverse-flea flicker, with Snead finding Brandon Bolden for a 33-yard gain. That set up Snead's 4-yard TD pass to Gerald Harris.
It showed early that Ole Miss was going to make it tough for Wake Forest, but Swank bailed out his teammates as he surpassed 300 career points.