Wake Forest Holds Off North Carolina State, 25-23
Oct. 14, 2006
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Sam Swank kicked three field goals of more than 50 yards and Riley Skinner threw a touchdown pass to lead Wake Forest past North Carolina State 25-23 on Saturday.
Nate Morton had the 57-yard TD catch just before halftime for the Demon Deacons (6-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who ended a 10-game losing streak at Carter-Finley Stadium and earned their first win here since 1984. The win gave coach Jim Grobe the school record for most ACC wins with 15, while giving Wake Forest its first 6-1 start since 1979.
The win allowed the Demon Deacons to move forward after last week's disappointing home loss to Clemson.
Wake Forest seemed to have that game in hand, leading 17-3 entering the fourth quarter and preparing to increase the margin with a field-goal attempt. But Clemson's Gaines Adams forced a fumble on a bad snap and returned it 66 yards for a momentum-shifting touchdown in a 27-17 win.
This time, Swank and the special teams avoided any such mistakes, with Swank kicking a 51-yard field goal and a pair of 53-yarders - tying the school record for longest kicks - to help the Demon Deacons hold onto a 22-14 halftime lead. He became the fifth player to kick three field goals of 50-plus yards in a game in NCAA history and the first since North Carolina's Dan Orner in 2002.
Toney Baker ran for two touchdowns to lead the Wolfpack (3-3, 2-1), who was the only unbeaten team remaining in the league's Atlantic Division. Andre Brown also ran for a score, but Daniel Evans - the quarterback who led N.C. State to comeback wins against Boston College and Florida State in his first two starts - couldn't come up with more magic.
After Swank's second 53-yarder gave Wake Forest a 25-17 lead with 8:05 left, Baker ran it in from 13 yards to cut that margin to 25-23 with 5:06 to play. But Evans couldn't connect with Anthony Hill on the 2-point conversion to tie it.
Then, after the Demon Deacons went three-and-out, the Wolfpack had one more chance for Evans to shine.
Evans - who threw a last-second TD to beat the Eagles in his first start - led the Wolfpack to Wake Forest's 40 with about a minute to play, but he made his only mistake by throwing an interception to Josh Gattis with 45.4 seconds left to end it.
Skinner had a steady day, completing 9 of 14 passes for 124 yards. Kevin Harris also ran for 65 yards and a touchdown on Wake Forest's first possession.
The Demon Deacons pushed ahead with a burst late in the first half, starting when Brown fumbled the ball deep in Wolfpack territory. The ball rolled to around the 5 and at least three Demon Deacons had a shot to recover it, but the ball squirted into the end zone and was recovered by N.C. State's James Newby for a safety that gave Wake Forest a 15-14 lead.
Then, with time running out in the half, Skinner found Morton downfield near N.C. State's 30, and Morton spun back toward the middle of the field against the overpursuing defense and raced in for the long TD just before the break.