Wake Forest stuns Syracuse with 64-point eruption at Carrier Dome

Published Nov 13, 2017 at 4:10pm

(AP) — If there ever was a game of two halves, this was it.

Syracuse had a 38-24 lead at halftime and held a 41-27 advantage with nine minutes left in the third quarter. But then it all fell apart for the Orange.

Led by a historic performance by quarterback John Wolford, Wake Forest (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) stormed back for a 64-43 win over Syracuse (4-6, 2-4), outscoring the Orange 40-5 in the second half and clinching a bowl berth in the process.

“The defense played lights out in the second half and we obviously put up some points,” Wolford said in a classic understatement. “When you put all of those things together you’re going to come out with a win.”

That they did.

“Obviously, John (Wolford), the offensive line, (running back) Matt Colburn (237 yards rushing) — it just goes on and on. It was a great win. It really was,” said Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson.

The teams combined for an ACC-record 1,355 yards of total offense — 734 by Wake Forest, a school record, and 621 by Syracuse. Wake’s 64 points were the most ever for a Syracuse opponent in the 37-year history of the Carrier Dome.

“We’re extremely disappointed. We have to do a lot better than we what we did out there today,” said Syracuse coach Dino Babers. “We have to find a way to get a win on the road (next week against Louisville).”

Syracuse must win its final two games to secure its first bowl berth in four years. The Orange closes its season at home against Boston College.

Wolford passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more, accounting for 499 yards of total offense.

He was 25-of-38 for 363 yards passing and rushed for 136 more, the first 100-plus-yard game rushing in his career. He has accounted for 69 touchdowns in his career, shattering the school record of 65.

Wolford scored on runs of 3, 9, and 29 yards. His 9-yard run closed the deficit to 41-34 Syracuse, a 19-yard strike to Cam Serigne made it 43-40, and his 29-yard run with 11:48 left in the game gave Wake Forest a 47-43 lead to cap the furious rally. Wake Forest went on to score 17 more points to make it a blow out. “In the second half we were a different team,” said Clawson. “Our offense was just clicking. At halftime I told our players you could stay down or look at this as an opportunity to be great. It’s one of the best wins we’ve had in the last four years.”

Clawson said his team “tweaked a few things” at the half, “then challenged our players to play defense.”

“A lot of the touchdowns we gave up were on missed assignments. We were blowing assignments and not doing our jobs.”

Babers credited Wake Forest with their second-half adjustments, and had high praise for Wolford. “Their quarterback is a shifty guy, a fifth-year senior,” Babers said. “He knows all the tricks I thought the game he played was ‘Wow.’”

Serigne caught touchdown passes of 31, 19 and 6 yards. His 6-yard touchdown gave Wake Forest a 54-43 margin. Colburn got his 237 yards on 31 carries. He scored on a 76-yard burst in the fourth quarter.

Playing without star quarterback Eric Dungey, Syracuse didn’t miss a beat — at least in the first half — with backup Zach Mahoney. Mahoney was 22-of-35 for 297 yards passing and three touchdowns in the first half, but was just 11-of-25 for 87 yards after intermission.

Colgate crushes Lafayette

Aidan Gaertner returned an interception 63 yards to set up a field goal and Nick Ioanilli returned another pick 33 yards for a touchdown, leading Colgate to a 27-0 win over Lafayette on Saturday in Easton Pa. in a showdown of Patriot League leaders.

The Raiders (6-4, 4-1) have to beat Georgetown next weekend and hope the Leopards (3-7, 3-2) knock off Lehigh, which beat Colgate 41-38 on Oct. 7.

Defense was the key for the Raiders. Tyler Castillo also picked off a pass, Nick Wheeler had 1½ of Colgate’s three sacks and three of the 10 tackles for losses and Lafayette was limited to 18 yards on the ground on 18 running plays.

Colgate scored on a trick play when Owen Rockett went 17 yards on a double reverse early in the second quarter. The Raiders followed with a 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by Grant Breneman’s 1-yard quarterback sneak. Chris Puzzi had two field goals in the third quarter before the clinching pick-6.