• 64°

Syracuse stuns Wake Forest in OT, 39-30

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Trill Williams made sure Clayton Welch’s only start for Syracuse was one he’ll never forget.

The sophomore nickel back stole the ball from Wake Forest receiver Kendall Hinton and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown in overtime, and Syracuse beat Wake Forest 39-30 on Saturday.

Syracuse (5-7, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) was ranked No. 22 in the preseason after posting 10 wins last year and finishing ranked No. 15 in the final AP Top 25. But the Orange lost badly at Maryland in the second game on the schedule and an ensuing four-game skid doomed the season.

Welch, a redshirt senior, started at quarterback in place of injured Tommy DeVito, who was hurt during the week in practice, and had a solid day. He finished 21 of 36 for 234 yards passing with two interceptions and threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to Trishton Jackson in the first quarter and a wide-open Luke Benson for 29 early in the second to stake Syracuse to a 17-3 lead.

Andre Szymt had given the Orange the lead in extra time with a 40-yard field goal and Williams sealed the victory when he wrestled the ball away from Hinton inside the 5 and raced down the left side untouched as Hinton collapsed in dismay.

“It just came down to one more play,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “They made one more play than us. It was a tough way to finish the regular season. We didn’t play well.”

Szmyt’s 49-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the fourth broke a 27-all tie, but Nick Sciba connected for Wake Forest from 43 yards out with four seconds left to force overtime.

Moe Neal scored on a 13-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to break a 20-all tie after Welch had hit Jackson with a pair of 26-yard completions. Jackson had 10 catches for 111 yards and finished the season with 1,023 receiving yards.

The Demon Deacons (8-4, 4-4) tied it just over four minutes later on Sam Hartman’s scoring pass to Hinton on fourth-and-goal from the 2.

The Wake Forest defense stopped three straight running plays inside the 1 and Syracuse settled for Szmyt’s 20-yard field goal and a 20-13 lead. Donavon Greene’s 75-yard catch-and-run on Wake Forest’s next play from scrimmage knotted the score late in the third.

Greene finished with seven catches for 172 yards and is the first freshman with a 100-yard receiving game for Wake Forest since Todd Dixon in 1990.

Wake Forest starting quarterback Jamie Newman was 6 of 13 for 71 yards and an interception and rushed for 23 yards before getting shaken up in the second quarter. He did not return.

Hartman, who finished 25 of 42 for 350 yards, hit Greene for 27 yards on the first possession of the second half and Cade Carney scored on a 19-yard run after a nice delay at the line as Wake Forest closed to within 17-13.

MISTAKES, MISTAKES

The first half featured six turnovers, with Wake Forest suffering three interceptions and a lost fumble. Syracuse defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu had a key pick in the end zone, wrestling Hartman’s throw away from Waydale Jones with just over four minutes left in the second.

“They had their guys ready to go,” Clawson said. “We didn’t take care of the football early. We were fortunate to be in the game, but credit to our kids. We battled back and every time they took the lead we responded.”

ALMOST AUTOMATIC NICK

Sciba entered the game with an NCAA record 32 straight field goals. He gave the Demon Deacons a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter with a 43-yarder and kicked a season-long 45-yarder as time expired in the second. That made him a perfect 23 of 23 for the season, but his streak of 34 in a row ended when he missed a 48-yard attempt early in the fourth.

THE TAKEAWAY

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have a real threat with Newman, a redshirt junior who has three 400-yard games in his career, if he takes care of the ball, and a capable backup in Hartman.

Syracuse: Defense became an Achilles heel and defensive coordinator Brian Ward was fired after an embarrassing home loss to Boston College in early November. Coach Dino Babers said that will be addressed in the offseason. Wake Forest outgained the Orange 572-441.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest, which squandered a chance to play in the Orange Bowl, awaits bowl selection Sunday to find out which Tier 1 game it will play in.

Syracuse’s season is over.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting