ACC Football: Vanderbilt 41, Wake Forest 7
WINSTON-SALEM ó Wake Forest won an emotional game last week to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2008.
But the Deacons didnít play like a bowl-eligible team against Vanderbilt, struggling on both sides of the ball in a 41-7 loss Saturday.
Tanner Price threw for 157 yards and one touchdown before coming out of the game late in the fourth quarter for Wake Forest (6-6), which finished with its lowest scoring total of the season.
ěWe definitely came out flat tonight,î Price said. ěWe were a little complacent this week, like we were OK being bowl-eligible. But weíve got to be competitive every week. I want to win every week, no matter what the situation is, and to come out this flat and looking that sloppy at times is really disappointing.î
The Demon Deacons ó who became bowl-eligible by beating Atlantic Coast Conference foe Maryland 31-10 on Nov. 19 ó were outplayed in virtually all aspects of Saturdayís game.
Wake Forest gave up 481 total yards while gaining 329, and allowed the Commodores to score on their first five possessions Saturday ó a performance that surprised Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe.
ěTonight, we didnít play good on either side of the ball,î Grobe said. ěWe didnít play with a lot of enthusiasm. Normally, when one side isnít playing well, the other side picks up the slack.
ěBut that was a hungry football team we played tonight. They played like they were on a mission.î
Zac Stacy ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Jordan Rodgers had 229 total yards for Vanderbilt (6-6), which became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2008.
ěIíve never been bowling before, so this is definitely a great experience for me,î said Stacy, who also broke the schoolís single-season rushing record Saturday. ěAnytime you are trying to get that sixth win, you have more to play for.î
Stacy ó whose 1,136 yards bettered the mark of 1,103 yards set by Corey Harris in 1991 ó scored on runs of 1 and 20 yards in the second quarter as the Commodores built a 20-point halftime lead. The junior back then iced the win for Vanderbilt with his 40-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
Rodgers, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, threw for 139 yards and one touchdown and ran for 90 more as the Commodores closed their regular season by winning two of their last three games.
Larry Smith, who began the season as Vanderbiltís starting QB, also completed a 45-yard flanker option pass for a score, and Ryan Fowler made field goals of 33 and 30 yards
Aided by Wake Forest mistakes, Vanderbilt drove into the Demon Deaconsí red zone on its first two possessions but came away with only Fowlerís field goals for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
Wake Forest finally got its offense going near the end of the first quarter. Price hit 4 of 5 passes on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 10-yarder to Terence Davis in the back of the end zone for a 7-6 Demon Deacons lead with 12:44 left in the second quarter.
ěWhen we went up, I thought, ëOK, here we go,íî Grobe said. ěBut we just never did.î
Instead, it was the Commodores who got going, responding with three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 27-7 halftime lead. Stacy had two of his touchdown runs, and Rodgers hit Brandon Barden on a 73-yard TD pass.
Catching Wake Forest in a cornerback blitz, Rodgers hit a wide-open Barden down the sideline. He hurdled one Demon Deacons defender and stiff-armed two others en route to scoring on Vanderbiltís longest TD pass play of the season.
The Commodores added to their lead in the second half on Smithís flanker-option pass to Jordan Matthews with 4:17 left in the third quarter and Stacyís 40-yard TD run with 9:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Associated Press