No. 16 Wake Forest Falls to Navy, 24-17
Sept. 27, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Eric Kettani rushed for a career-high 175 yards and backup quarterback Jarod Bryant scored the decisive touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give Navy its first win over a ranked team in 23 years, 24-17 over mistake-prone No. 16 Wake Forest on Saturday.
Coming in with a nation-best plus-10 turnover ratio, the Demon Deacons (3-1) committed six turnovers in a dreadful performance a week after dominating Florida State.
Riley Skinner's fourth interception midway through the fourth quarter set up Bryant's 4-yard run with 3:45 left and ended Wake Forest's comeback from a 17-0 deficit.
Navy (3-2) won its second straight game despite losing starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada in the second quarter when he aggravated a left hamstring injury after rushing for two scores in the Midshipmen's quick start.
But Navy's much-maligned defense, which gave up 76 points in consecutive losses to Ball State and Duke, stepped up. Four different players had interceptions in Navy's first win over a ranked team since a 17-13 win over No. 20 Virginia in 1985.
Kettani's 57-yard run shortly after Skinner's final interception set up Bryant's score. Kettani's previous career day was a week earlier when he rushed for 133 yards in a 23-21 win over Rutgers.
It was all part of a miserable day for Wake Forest, which had insisted it was going to avoid a letdown between games against Florida State and Clemson.
Instead, Skinner had one of his worst games since taking over as the starter in Wake Forest's Orange Bowl season in 2006, left tackle Jeff Birdsong was ejected for a blow to the head, and the Demon Deacons had their six-game winning streak dating to last season snapped in ugly fashion.
Skinner, who had not thrown an interception since the first half of last year's Meineke Bowl, completed 26 of 40 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown pass to Mike Rinfrette with 1:14 left, but was responsible for five turnovers after also losing a fumble.
Wake Forest never got a running game going, managing only 51 yards on the ground.
Skinner's streak of 133 passes without an interception ended when he was picked off by Ross Pospisil on Wake's first series. It led to Kaheaku-Enhada's 4-yard TD run.
Navy, which converted seven straight third down chances to start the game, took a 14-0 lead on Kaheaku-Enhada's 3-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
Coming in with only five turnovers in three games, Wake Forest couldn't overcome a dizzying display of mistakes and undisciplined plays in the first half.
Receiver Marshall Williams lost a fumble, Skinner badly overthrew Chip Brinkman and it was picked off by Wyatt Middleton, Skinner lost a fumble after picking up a first down and then Ketric Buffin intercepted another badly thrown ball.
And Birdsong could only watch, after being ejected early in the second quarter for a blow to the head away from the ball. It was all part of an uncharacteristic first half that saw Wake Forest with only one more first down (six) than turnovers.
Wake Forest's hopes of tying the game ended when Skinner was picked off by Emmett Merchant midway through the fourth quarter.