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Wake Forest rallies in closing seconds to defeats Stanford, 24-17

Posted Monday, September 14, 2009

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Riley Skinner scores on a 1-yard keeper with 2 seconds remaining

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest scored 21 unanswered points and racked up 311 yards of total offense in the second half to post a thrilling 24-17 comeback win over Stanford on Saturday afternoon at BB&T Field.

With the win, the Demon Deacons even their record at 1-1 on the season, while the Cardinal drops to 1-1.

The game was a tale of two halves, as Stanford came out rolling in the first half and jumped out to a 17-3 halftime lead. In the second half, Wake Forest came out of the locker room inspired and recorded some defensive stops before cutting the deficit to seven points on a Mike Rinfrette three-yard touchdown run with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Riley Skinner hooked up with Jordan Williams on a nine yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to tie the game, and after a 44-yard pass from Skinner to redshirt freshman Lovell Jackson, Skinner took the ball into the end zone himself with two seconds left on the clock to give Wake Forest the win.

After being outgained in the first half, the Demon Deacons finished the game with 458 yards of total offense to Stanford's 391.

Riley Skinner went 18-of-26 for 187 yards and one touchdown. Skinner's pass to Ben Wooster in the third quarter gave him the Wake Forest record for most career completions with 666. Skinner also caught a pass, the second of his career, from Marshall Williams in the second quarter for a 20 yard gain.

Wake Forest gained 251 yards on the ground, with Josh Adams, Chris Givens, Devon Brown, and Kevin Harris sharing the load. Adams led the team with 54 yards on eight carries, and Givens picked up 51 yards on five carries. Brown and Harris each got eight carries gaining 47 and 39 yards respectively.

Brown led the receiving corps with four catches for 58 yards, and Givens added five catches and 32 yards.

Defensively, Mike Williams and Cyhl Quarles led Wake Forest with 8 tackles each. Tristan Dorty had six tackles as well as a sack.

For Stanford, quarterback Andrew Luck went 23-of-34 for 276 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Toby Gerhart led the Cardinal rushers with 82 yards on 17 carries. Receiver Ryan Whalen had nine catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Stanford's Clinton Snyder led all players with 13 tackles, while Bo McNally and Corey Gatewood tallied 10 apiece.

On the opening drive, Stanford took to the air, marching 64 yards to take a 7-0 lead. Quarterback Andrew Luck went 5-6 passing on the drive culminating in a 26-yard pass to Ryan Whelan who made a diving catch in the end zone.

Wake Forest answered with a 10-play drive of their own, as Kevin Harris tallied 22 yards on four carries and Chris Givens had an eight yard catch and a 16 yard run. However, the offense stalled on the Stanford 5-yard line and Shane Popham kicked 20-yard field goal for Wake to make the score 7-3

Powered by a 27 yard run by Gerhart, Stanford made it to the Wake Forest 30, but a Luck pass was picked off by Kenny Okoro, his first career interception. However, the Deacons were unable to capitalize as their ensuing drive stalled at the Stanford 49 and they were forced to punt.

To start the second quarter, Stanford covered 80 yards in 11 plays to extend their lead to 14-3. During the drive, the Cardinal converted on fourth down and one at midfield when Gerhart burst through the Wake Forest line for five yards. Luck finished it off with a 17-yard strike to Whelan who ran easily into the end zone for his second touchdown reception of the day.

Late in the second quarter, a pass interference call brought the Deacons into Stanford territory. The Wake Forest coaching staff reached into their bag of tricks as Marshall Williams looked to be running a reverse when he pulled up and threw downfield to Skinner for a 20-yard gain. The catch was only the second of Skinner's career, with the first going for a touchdown against Clemson in 2006. The Demon Deacons had an opportunity to put seven more points on the board, but tight end Andrew Parker dropped a pass in the end zone on third down. It appeared that Parker may have had possession, but the play was not reviewed and on the ensuing 33-yard field goal attempt, Shane Popham got an unfriendly bounce off of the left upright, and the kick was no good.

After the miss, Stanford ran their hurry up offense looking to add to their lead and got down to the Wake Forest 36-yard line. With one second remaining in the second half, Cardinal kicker Nate Whitaker lined up for a 54-yard field goal attempt, and the kick hit the crossbar and rolled through the uprights to make the score 17-3 Stanford. The field goal tied for the longest in BB&T Field history and was the longest since 1983.

The Wake Forest offense woke up in the second half as the Demon Deacons put together a 9-play, 72-yard drive highlighted by numerous big plays to cut the Cardinal lead to 17-10. On the first play of the drive, Skinner hit Ben Wooster for a 16-yard pass that moved him into first on the Wake Forest all-time completions list with 666. Josh Adams reeled off an 11-yard run, and Givens added a 17 yard carry of his own to bring the Demon Deacons into the red zone. On fourth and two at the 18-yard line, Josh Adams found a seam in the center of the line and burst through for 15 yards. Fullback Mike Rinfrette punched the ball into the end zone for a touchdown on a three yard carry.

On the ensuing possession, the Wake Forest kickoff went out of bounds giving Stanford good field position. Five plays brought the Cardinal to the Wake Forest 27-yard line, but Whitaker's 44-yard field goal attempt was wide left.

Wake took the ball over and put together a 12 play that drove all the way down the field to tie the score at 17-17. The Deacons went 73 yards on the possession, and gained 59 of those on the ground as Devon Brown picked up 20 yards on two carries and Brandon Pendergrass picked up 21 yards on 3 carries.

With just under four minutes to go in the game, Wake Forest took over on their own 9-yard line. A designed run for Skinner picked up 12 yards, and he followed that up with a 20-yard pass to Brown that brought the Demon Deacons into Stanford territory. On third down and nine to go, Lovell Jackson burned his defender deep and Skinner found him for a 43 yard strike down to the Stanford three yard line. The reception was the first of Jackson's career. Skinner scored on a quarterback sneak with two seconds left on the clock to put the Deacons ahead for good, 24-17.

In a play reminiscent of their 1982 win over Cal, Stanford threw multiple laterals on the on the final kickoff return, and managed to get to midfield before kicker Cline Beam forced an errant lateral and Wake Forest recovered the ball to end the game.

Wake Forest will be back in action when they square off against regional rival Elon on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at BB&T field. The game can be heard on the Wake Forest ISP Radio Network and will be available online on ACC Select.

Related info:
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Wake Forest rallies in closing seconds to defeats Stanford, 24-17
With the win the Demon Deacons even their record at 1-1 on the season.
photo by Gene Galin

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