College Football: Wake Forest 64, Syracuse 43 - D1SportsNet

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College football

Wake Forest 64, Syracuse 43

Quarterback John Wolford tossed three touchdowns and ran for three more as Wake Forest defeated Syracuse 64-43 on Saturday in a wild Atlantic Coast Conference game at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

Wolford completed 25 of 38 pass attempts for 363 yards and rushed 19 times for 136 yards as the Demon Deacons gained 734 total yards.

Wide receiver Tabari Hines had nine receptions for 124 yards, tight end Cam Serigne caught three touchdown passes and tailback Matt Colburn ran for 237 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries, including a 76-yarder in the closing minutes.

Zack Mahoney started for Syracuse in place of injured quarterback Eric Dungey and completed 33 of 60 passes for 384 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver Steve Ishmael had 14 receptions for 145 yards and one score for the Orange, who gained 621 total yards.

Trailing 41-27 early in the third quarter, Wake Forest (6-4, 3-3 ACC) outscored the Orange 27-2 over the next 15 minutes to build a 54-43 lead. Wolford's 9-yard touchdown run ignited the comeback, and the Demon Deacons pulled within 41-40 on Wolford's 17-yard touchdown pass to Serigne.

Kicker Mike Weaver's extra point was blocked by Syracuse's Kayton Samuels, and Scoop Bradshaw picked up the ball and raced to the end zone for a two-point conversion that gave the Orange (4-6, 2-4) a 43-40 advantage.

But Wake Forest overcame that mistake on its next drive, which ended with Wolford's 29-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 play. Wolford faked a plunge, bolted around left end and coasted into the end zone untouched as the Demon Deacons grabbed a 47-43 lead.

Linebacker Jaboree Williams' returned an interception 52 yards to set up Wolford's third touchdown pass to Serigne, a 6-yarder that boosted Wake Forest's lead to 54-43 midway through the fourth quarter. Weaver's 30-yard field goal increased the lead to 57-43 with about five minutes remaining.

Wake Forest, which rolled up 587 yards and scored 37 points against No. 3 Notre Dame last week, scored touchdowns on its first three possessions to take a 21-14 lead in the first quarter. Wolford and Colburn each ran 3 yards for a score, and Wolford connected with Serigne for a 31-yard touchdown strike to snap a 14-14 tie.

Running back Dontae Strickland's 43-yard run and Mahoney's 19-yard pass to tight end Ravian Pierce accounted for Syracuse's first two touchdowns. Trailing 21-14, the Orange defense started to force punts, and Syracuse scored 24 unanswered points on fullback Chris Elmore's 1-yard touchdown run, Mahoney's 30-yard pass to Ishmael, Cole Murphy's 30-yard field goal and Mahoney's 18-yard scoring pass to Pierce.

Weaver made a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the first half and a 43-yarder on the Demon Deacons' first possession of the second half to slice Syracuse's lead to 38-27. Murphy answered with a 47-yard field goal on the Orange's first possession of the second half -- his school-record 58th field goal of his career.

The win makes Wake Forest bowl eligible for the second consecutive season. Syracuse will need to win its two final games -- at Louisville and at home against Boston College -- to qualify for its first bowl game since 2013.


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