College football: Hartman passes for 4 TDs in Wake Forest victory; UNC, NC State, Duke win

Published 6:11 pm Saturday, September 10, 2022

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — With Sam Hartman behind center, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson feels pretty good about his team’s chances.

Hartman passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns, and No. 23 Wake Forest beat Vanderbilt 45-25 on Saturday.

Hartman connected on 18 of 27 passes after he missed Wake Forest’s opener against VMI because of a blood clot. The fifth-year quarterback directed the Demon Deacons to 11 wins and a trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game last season.

“He’s played so much football and when he goes out there, he’s just got a command of things,” Clawson said. “And I think everybody else’s play kind of elevates with him. “He’s one of the premier quarterbacks in the country.”

Hartman’s 68-yard touchdown pass to A.T. Perry lifted Wake Forest (2-0) to a 14-3 lead with 36 seconds left in the first quarter. He found Christian Turner for a 2-yarder early in the second quarter, and then threw second-half touchdown passes to Taylor Morin and Cameron Hite.

“I didn’t feel too bad, you know a little rusty,” Hartman said. “I mean, of course, it’s a rain game your first game back, but no turnovers on offense was huge. It was sloppy, you know how it goes. I missed throws here and there on some of the early ones.”

A.J. Swann passed for two touchdowns for Vanderbilt in relief of Mike Wright. Swann also ran for a 2-point conversion.

Re’Mahn Davis had 18 carries for 87 yards for the Commodores (2-1), including a 2-yarder with 11:06 left in the first half that trimmed Wake Forest’s lead to 21-10.

The Demon Deacons went ahead to stay when Wright threw a pass to the left under pressure that was intercepted by Coby Davis and returned 31 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

“I felt like early in the game we started fast on defense and were playing competitively,” Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea said. “But the interception for a touchdown was a momentum killer.

“We wanted to represent this program better today, but we didn’t. It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Wake Forest: Solid performance by the Demon Deacons defense, which held the Commodores to 294 total yards, 113 on the ground. Vanderbilt averaged 512.5 total yards and 52.5 points through its first two games.

“It’s always hard to win on the road,” Clawson said. “So anytime you go on the road against a Power Five team, especially an SEC team, it’s a good win.”

Vanderbilt: Wright had accounted for 10 touchdowns in his first two games, but he was held in check by Wake Forest.

SWANN SONG

Swann replaced Wright late in the third quarter. Wright was 8 for 15 for 35 yards and one interception. Swann completed 8 of 11 passes for 146 yards and the two TDs.

“We weren’t getting anything done on offense,” Lea said. “I felt like we needed to do something different.

“A.J. was the next man up. I really don’t want to comment on his performance but I was pleased with the scoring drives.”

GOOD TO BE BACK

Hartman had a blood clot near his collarbone. The school originally said he would be out indefinitely due to what was described as a non-football medical issue, so missing only one game was a nice development for the QB.

It also made him realize how quickly it can all end.

“When you have to step away from it for reasons not in your control, you learn to value it more,” Hartman said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunities that I get.”

 

No. 18 NC State 55,  Charleston Southern 3

RALEIGH — Devin Leary kept finding the end zone for No. 18 North Carolina State, sometimes with a tough-nosed edge that had him unbothered by would-be tacklers.

“If I’ve got to get a little gritty, I’m willing to do it,” the quarterback said.

Leary’s play was one of several positive signs for the Wolfpack in Saturday’s 55-3 win against Charleston Southern in the team’s first chance to move past the shaky finish from its opener at East Carolina.

Leary tied a program record by accounting for six touchdowns, with four coming through the air. One that stood out was a perfect 24-yard wheel route to Jordan Houston down the left side. The other was a 40-yard strike over the middle to Anthony Smith after he shrugged blitzer Nick Perry off his back.

Leary’s two rushing scores included a 12-yard keeper in the first quarter, when the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year bounced off three hard hits before reaching across the goal line for the game’s first TD.

Celebrating his 23rd birthday, Leary wrapped up his day by hitting Chris Toudle for a 27-yard TD and a 45-0 lead with 12:48 left in the third.

“That’s kind of what he did all through fall camp,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “We were really happy with how he was sliding around the pocket and extending plays. I think he kept his eyes downfield and made some things happen.”

The game offered N.C. State (2-0) a chance to regroup from last week’s 21-20 win at ECU, earned only when the Pirates missed two late kicks. That game was full of problems after halftime, including coming up scoreless on two drives with a combined six goal-line snaps as well as sputtering to 25 fourth-quarter yards.

That made recent days, along with kickoff against the Buccaneers (0-2) of the Championship Subdivision, a chance to clean up mistakes.

Charleston Southern’s top highlight was a 48-yard field goal from Sam Babbush midway through the third quarter, stopping the Wolfpack’s shutout bid. Ross Malmgren threw for 111 yards but found himself under repeated pressure. Charleston Southern managed 150 total yards to remain winless all-time against Bowl Subdivision teams.

“What I feel we should’ve done a better job, what we wanted to do a better job of was just competing,” Charleston Southern coach Autry Denson said. “You know when you play a game like this that you have to play perfect, and that’s just to give yourself a chance because from a personnel standpoint, you just don’t match up. We just didn’t do that.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers opened the season by surrendering 52 points at home against Western Carolina. And the Big South Conference program entered this one with an 0-25 mark against Bowl Subdivision opponents, including 0-15 against teams from the Power Five conferences.

N.C. State: The storylines focused on improvements, not whether Doeren’s squad would beat a lower-division opponent. Leary and his teammates largely showed that, with the offense cracking the 40-point mark on its first snap after halftime and the defensive front generally overwhelming the Bucs.

REST AND RECOVER

The Wolfpack played without linebacker Payton Wilson, who missed nearly all last season to injury and then exited the ECU win with an apparent shoulder injury. Doeren said Wilson, who was on the sideline, should be OK next week

HELLO AGAIN

N.C. State backup quarterback Jack Chambers played against his former team in the third and fourth quarters. The graduate transfer, who played his first four seasons with the Buccanceers, threw for 45 yards, including a 10-yard score to Jalen Coit early in the fourth.

 

UNC 35, Ga. State 28

ATLANTA — Drake Maye passed for two touchdowns, Omarion Hampton ran for a pair of scores and North Carolina escaped another upset bid from a Sun Belt Conference team Saturday, rallying for a 35-28 victory over Georgia State after squandering an 18-point lead.

The Tar Heels (3-0) were coming off a wild 63-61 victory at Appalachian State despite giving up a staggering 40 points in the fourth quarter.

The Atlantic Coast Conference school hit the road again to face Georgia State (0-2), which was hosting a Power 5 team in Atlanta for the first time in the 13-year history of its program.

The Panthers ripped off 25 straight points to grab a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter.

But Hampton broke a 58-yard touchdown run right down the middle of field to tie the game before the end of the third.

He won it on a 2-yard scoring plunge with 10:42 remaining, ensuring the Tar Heels escaped another close call and moved to 3-0 for the first time since 2011.

“I’m happy to have two wins on the road,” coach Mack Brown said. “Both of them tough wins, which really helps us grow up.”

Hampton finished with 110 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Darren Grainger threw three touchdown passes for Georgia State, which opened the season with a 35-14 loss at another Power 5 school, South Carolina.

“We can hold our heads up,” Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott said. “I feel really good about our football team. We had opportunities to beat both of those teams. We weren’t outmatched.”

North Carolina appeared headed for a more comfortable win after the previous week’s craziness, building a 21-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

Maye threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Kamari Morales and a 28-yarder to Kobe Paysour.

But Grainger led a Georgia State comeback. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Kris Byrd, a 49-yarder to Robert Lewis, and another to Lewis covering 29 yards to cap a 10-play, 98-yard drive that put the Panthers up 28-21 late in the third quarter — their first lead of the game.

But North Carolina’s offense finally got going again, sparked by Hampton’s long run.

“I just read the hole,” Hampton said. “When it opened up, I knew I had to take it.”

MACK THE GAMBLER

Brown twice went for fourth-and-short on his side of the 50 in the first half.

The Tar Heels only made one of them, but it worked out OK.

On fourth-and-1 at the UNC 45, Hampton gained a yard to keep the drive going. Three plays later, Maye connected with Morales for the touchdown.

Brown’s second gamble didn’t pay off. Up 21-10 with less than 2 minutes to go in the half, the offense stayed on the field on fourth-and-2 at its own 39.

Maye was sacked, giving Georgia State a shot at a 44-yard field goal just before halftime. The Tar Heels blocked the attempt, preserving their 11-point lead.

“We got seven points out of one, they didn’t get any on other one, so what a great call by me,” Brown quipped. “We’ve got good enough players, we should be able to make fourth-and-2. And we didn’t.”

Duke 31, Northwestern 23

EVANSTON, Ill. — Jordan Waters had a pair of touchdowns on the ground, Riley Leonard threw for a score and Duke beat Northwestern 31-23 on Saturday.

Leonard, who was 13 of 24 for 240 yards and an interception, found Jordan Moore with a short scoring pass early in the fourth quarter to give Duke a 28-16 lead and Brandon Johnson had a late interception in Wildcat territory to set up a field goal with 1:18 remaining.

Johnson finished the game by pouncing on Evan Hull’s fumble with 12 seconds left.

“So many times you see that play turn into a touchdown because your guys don’t finish the play,” Duke coach Mike Elko said of the recovery in the end zone. “It’s just a credit to the effort our kids are playing with now.”

Waters rushed for a career-best 91 yards, including a 42-yard scoring run for the Blue Devils (2-0). Jaylen Coleman added 83 yards and a short touchdown run.

Hull caught 14 passes for a career-best 213 yards and a touchdown, and added 65 yards and a score on the ground for the Wildcats (1-1), who trailed 21-0 in the opening 16 minutes. Ryan Hilinski was 36 of 60 for a personal-high 435 yards with two scores and an interception.

“He probably doesn’t throw the ball 60 times if the game didn’t start out the way it did,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “Our guys had great resolve and kept battling, but to sum it up there was a lot of self-inflicted wounds.”

Northwestern got within 21-10 by halftime and twice cut the lead to five points in the second half.

Elko won his first road game with Duke despite being penalized seven times for 85 yards. Jalon Calhoun had six catches for 108 yards and Eli Pancol added two for 102.

“We were up and we were down,” Duke safety Darius Joiner said. “We just kept saying not to look at the scoreboard and keep playing.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Duke: Elko wished his team would’ve built on the early 21-0 advantage, but his first road trip ended well. The Blue Devils watched Northwestern creep back into the game but the defense got stingy when it needed to and the offense shook off some bad luck and bad possessions to turn the game into a two-score affair in the fourth quarter. A 4-0 start before the Oct. 1 ACC opener against Virginia looks realistic.

Northwestern: The Wildcats bounced back from a rough first quarter but the defense came away looking even worse than it did in a season-opening win over Nebraska. The Blue Devils evenly split their 463 yards between the ground and air and averaged more than 8 yards per play. There’s a lot to shore up before an Oct. 1 Big Ten road trip to Penn State.

“We can’t allow that to continue to happen,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s a recipe for disaster in the long term.”

SHIFT/DOWNSHIFT

The Wildcats went for it on fourth-and-3 from the Duke 39 late in the third and cashed in when Hilinski found Hull with a short pass. Hull sailed down the sideline for a touchdown and a failed two-point try left the score 21-16.

Duke took the momentum right back on the ensuing possession; a long drive that ended with Leonard’s short scoring pass to Moore.

“Biggest drive of the game,” Elko said. “They had all the momentum going and that’s the time your guys have to answer back. That’s a critical four-point play we had to convert.”

GREAT ESCAPE

Duke was facing third-and-6 from its own 14 on the final play of the first quarter when Leonard connected with a streaking Pancol for an 81-yard gain up the middle. It set the Blue Devils up for a 21-0 lead early in the second and ended an opening quarter that saw the visitors outgain Northwestern 237-76.

UP NEXT

Duke: The Blue Devils host North Carolina A&T next Saturday.

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