ACC Football: Vanderbilt 55, Wake Forest 21
WINSTON-SALEM — A third straight loss cost the Wake Forest Demon Deacons a chance to qualify for a bowl game.
And like their previous two losses to North Carolina State and Notre Dame, Saturday’s debacle wasn’t pretty.
Jordan Rodgers threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and Zac Stacy ran for a season-high 180 yards and two scores as Vanderbilt hammered the Demon Deacons 55-21.
Hypothetically Wake Forest could still get a bowl invitation if not enough bowl eligible teams reach the needed six wins to qualify. School officials were counting the numbers as game results continued to pour in from around the country after their game ended.
But the excitement of going to a bowl game may be fading after the Demon Deacons lost their final three games by a combined margin of 130-27.
“Judging by these past three games, I don’t know how much our team really deserves to go to a bowl game right now,” said Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price, who was limited to 182 yards passing. “We just haven’t been competitive the last couple weeks, and it’s disappointing.”
Said Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe: “We’re just not playing really good right now.”
Wake Forest’s Michael Campanaro caught eight passes for 98 yards before leaving in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury.
“It’s frustrating, it really is,” Campanaro said. “It’s been such an up and down season. You can look at it two ways. You can look at it negative and really get down on yourself because I really thought this was a seven- or eight-win team. But we got bit by the injury bug a bit and lost a lot of guys. We just had an up-and-down season. We can’t point any fingers. We got a lot of young guys that will be back next year. We’ve just got to stay positive and keep working.”
Vanderbilt (8-4) scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions to take a 28-7 lead at halftime and never looked back. Wesley Tate added two scores, and Jordan Matthews had 10 catches for 144 yards in the first half, including a 64-yard touchdown reception from Rodgers.
Vanderbilt looked dominant from the start.
Picking up where it left off in last week’s 41-18 win over Tennessee, Vanderbilt took the opening kickoff and marched 85 yards on 11 plays and take a 7-0 lead. Using a handful of direct snaps to Stacy, Vanderbilt easily converted a pair of fourth downs along the way before Rodgers hit a wide-open Tate along the right sideline for a 25-yard touchdown.
Wake Forest bounced back, driving 71 yards on 16 plays to tie the game at 7 on fullback Tommy Bohanon’s fourth-down touchdown run from the 1.