Wake Forest Wins Meineke Car Care Bowl
Dec. 29, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Behind speedy receiver Kenneth Moore and a swarming defense full of big plays, Wake Forest rallied to beat fellow upstart Connecticut 24-10 in the Meineke Bowl on Saturday.
Wake Forest (9-4) secured the second-most wins in school history, behind only last year's improbable 11-3 mark that included an Atlantic Coast Conference title and an Orange Bowl berth.
While this year wasn't as stellar, Wake Forest finished with nine wins in its last 11 games, and reeled off 24 unanswered points after falling behind 10-0 at halftime against the Huskies, who were playing in only their second bowl game.
Moore, a senior playing in his hometown in his final game, caught 11 passes for 112 yards and was voted MVP. Riley Skinner completed 29 of 38 passes for 268 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and ACC rookie of the year Josh Adams rushed for 81 yards and a score.
Micah Andrews put it away with a 9-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left for Wake Forest, which was playing in bowls in consecutive seasons for the first time and displayed an opportunistic defense.
Linebacker Stanley Arnoux highlighted a series of big plays for Wake Forest with an interception and two fourth-down stops.
Tyler Lorenzen was just 13-of-26 for 98 yards and was sacked twice, and Donald Brown rushed for 78 yards for the Huskies (9-4), whose poor second half ended their hopes of being ranked at the end of the season for the first time.
While Wake Forest came into the game with a nation-best 10 non-offensive touchdowns, UConn struck first in an unconventional way late in the first quarter.
Five-foot-6 Larry Taylor returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown down the right sideline, getting a crushing block by D.J. Hernandez to break free for the final 20 yards.
It was the speedy Taylor's second punt return for a TD this season and the fourth of his career.
Robert Vaughn's seventh interception of the season - at the UConn 9 - ended Wake Forest's chance to tie.
On the next play, Brown rumbled 58 yards to set up Tony Ciaravino's 29-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
But UConn, which completed the move to college football's highest level only six years ago, was done in by mistakes in the second half.
Adams' 38-yard touchdown run up the middle on the first drive of the second half got Wake Forest on the board.
Skinner put the Demon Deacons ahead late in the third quarter by floating a pass to the left corner of the end zone for tight end John Tereshinski for a 20-yard TD.
Arnoux's first fourth-down stop, bring down Brown for no gain, set up Sam Swank's 34-yard field goal that made it 17-10 early in the fourth.
Arnoux then broke up Lorenzen's fourth-down pass from the Wake 39, part of a difficult day for the UConn quarterback.
The Huskies, picked to finish seventh in the eight-team Big East, ended the conference's seven-game bowl win streak dating to 2005.
Moore was much of the reason. He passed former North Carolina State star Torry Holt's ACC record for career completions of 88 early in the game. He ended up with 98, and was honored on the field after the game as his family cheered on.