ACC Football: Notre Dame 24, Wake Forest 17
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM ó Tommy Rees threw two touchdown passes and Notre Dame shut out Wake Forest in the second half of its 24-17 victory on Saturday night.
Rees was 14 of 23 for 166 yards with scoring passes of 38 yards to Tyler Eifert and 16 yards to Michael Floyd. Jonas Gray added a 1-yard touchdown run for the Irish (6-3).
They outgained the Deacons 341-297, scored on their first two possessions of the second half and held on to win their second straight.
Tanner Price was 17 of 24 for 187 yards with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Pendergrass. Josh Harris added a 2-yard touchdown run for Wake Forest (5-4), which led 17-10 at halftime but has lost three of four.
Twice in the second half, the Demon Deacons had the ball at the Notre Dame 10 while down by a touchdown ó and they came away with no points.
Wake Forest squandered Josh Bush’s long interception return midway through the third quarter when Pendergrass fumbled at the Irish 9. Wake Forest then had a first-and-goal from the 10 midway through the fourth, but lost 15 yards on its next three plays and David Newman’s 42-yard field goal sailed wide right with 5:24 left.
Ball security has been a problem all year for the Irish, who entered ranked 118th nationally in turnover margin, and it looked like the Demon Deacons were going to make them pay for Rees’ second interception to Bush before Pendergrass’ costly fumble swung momentum back to the Irish.
Harris put Wake Forest up 17-10 when he powered in from 2 yards out with 28 seconds left before halftime. That capped an 11-play, 81-yard march that chewed up nearly five minutes and ended with just the fifth rushing touchdown allowed all year by the Irish.
The first meeting between the schools ó and the only one scheduled in Winston-Salem ó was billed as one of the biggest in Wake Forest history with an announced crowd of 36,307 at the 31,500-seat BB&T Field, the smallest venue to host Notre Dame since 1945.
The teams combined to provide plenty of early fireworks, with both scoring on their first two possessions before the defenses finally settled down.