• 72°

Wake Forest romps past Old Dominion 42-10

By AARON BEARD

AP Sports Writer

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — Christian Beal-Smith ran for two touchdowns while Ja’Sir Taylor scored on a 99-yard kickoff return to help Wake Forest beat Old Dominion 42-10 in Friday night’s season opener for both teams.

It marked the Monarchs’ return to the field after not playing last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beal-Smith ran untouched around the left end and sprinted down the sideline for a 48-yard touchdown in the first quarter to get the Demon Deacons on the board. Then, after the Monarchs managed a field goal, Taylor came through with his huge return that squashed any fleeting momentum for ODU.

Taylor broke through an arm-tackle attempt and stayed on his feet through a stumble around the 20-yard line, then kicked into gear and down the sideline for the 99-yard score and a 14-3 lead.

It marked only the second kickoff return for a touchdown for Wake Forest since 2008 — and it came from a fifth-year senior with only two punt returns on his resume in the return game.

Sam Hartman also threw for three scores for Wake Forest, with one of those going to Jaquarii Roberson for his fifth consecutive game with a TD.

Old Dominion was playing its first game since Nov. 30, 2019 and its first game under head coach Ricky Rahne. Rahne, who had previously been Penn State’s offensive coordinator, took over the program nine days after the Monarchs’ last game.

But the Conference USA program canceled all fall sports last season due to the pandemic, delaying Rahne’s debut — which was scheduled to be at home against Wake Forest last year — for more than 640 days.

The Monarchs didn’t get to the end zone until late, with Hayden Wolff lofting a 9-yard toss to Isaiah Spencer with 2:27 left.

THE TAKEAWAY

ODU: The Monarchs had some good moments on the ground behind Elijah Davis (69 yards) and Blake Watson (55). But ODU got nothing in the passing game from UCF graduate transfer D.J. Mack, who emerged from a three-way battle to start at quarterback. Mack completed 7 of 21 passes for just 39 yards with two interceptions. Wolff threw for 88 yards on 11-for-17 passing in mop-up duty.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had a stress-free start to their push for a sixth straight bowl game, this one with fans back in the stadium after having limited-capacity crowds last season amid the pandemic. Wake Forest had offensive balance (184 yards passing, 164 rushing), though the Demon Deacons ended the first half with Beal-Smith being stuffed on a fourth-down wildcat leap for the end zone at the goal line.

UP NEXT

ODU: The Monarchs have their home opener against Hampton on Sept. 11.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host another visitor from Virginia on Sept. 11, facing Norfolk State.

___

More AP college football: http://www.twitter.com/hub/College-football and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Men stripped, robbed en route to buy beer

Crime

Jury begins deliberations in Fishzilla murder case

Education

East Rowan culinary students feed staff who helped build new classroom

Local Events

Rowan County Fair makes pandemic return Friday with COVID-19 protocols in place

Education

Education briefs: Schultz selected to NCDPI’s Teacher Leadership Council

Education

Catawba to induct six into Blue Masque Hall of Fame

Education

Cavs After Hours: A new tutoring space at North Rowan

Education

Shoutouts

Crime

Salisbury Police: Toyota Prius is most popular target for catalytic converter thieves

News

Salisbury City Council will vote on whether to exempt Goodwill developer from setback requirements

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office holding fundraiser for deputy hospitalized with COVID-19

Nation/World

FDA backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for seniors, high-risk

Nation/World

Many migrants staying in US even as expulsion flights rise

News

NC Senate maneuvers again to keep public records bill alive

News

NC road-building costs could scale back long-term projects

Coronavirus

State reports 10 new COVID-19 deaths in Rowan County, 18 this week

Crime

Man jailed after fleeing to California, returning to Kannapolis

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry officials will request correction to 2020 Census count

Local

Salisbury city manager describes short-term solutions for firefighter pay concerns

Education

17 rackets donated to Erwin Middle School tennis teams

Local

Spencer town hall project at Park Plaza moving along

Nation/World

‘Soul-crushing’: US COVID-19 deaths are topping 1,900 a day

Nation/World

White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants

Nation/World

House OKs debt and funding plan, inviting clash with GOP