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Wake Forest outlasts Texas A&M in Belk Bowl slugfest
Deacons set scoring mark in 55-52 win
 
Published Friday, December 29, 2017 6:45 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Wake Forest receivers Scotty Washington, left and Cortz Lewis celebrate after Washington's 50-yard touchdown reception during the Demon Deacons' 55-52 win Friday against Texas A&M in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Wake Forest set a Belk Bowl record for points scored in a game.

Wake Forest went fast enough.

With a 55-52 win Friday against Texas A&M at Bank of America Stadium, the Demon Deacons set a new Belk Bowl record for points scored. Mississippi State held the previous record with 51 points in the 2015 bowl. Wake Forest tied Mississippi State for most touchdowns in the game with seven.

“I thought it would a high-scoring game, and I told our offensive coordinator [Warren Ruggiero] before the game, ‘go fast. I don’t know how much it’s going to take,’” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. I told [junior offensive lineman] Ryan Anderson ‘you’re the gas pedal baby. Don’t take your foot off the gas.’ This game was going to come down to whoever could outscore somebody, and the other big thing that happened were turnovers. I believe we won the turnover battle 3-2.”

Sophomore wide receiver Scotty Washington led the Demon Deacons with nine receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.

“I’m speechless right now,” Washington said. “I’m just so ecstatic that we could get this win, and send these seniors out the right way.”

Said Clawson: “Washington made some huge plays.”

Senior tight end Cam Serigne concluded his career with the Demon Deacons as the ACC’s leader at the position for receptions, yards and touchdowns. Against the Aggies, he had nine catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. His final numbers in the ACC are 174 catches for 2,075 yards and 21 touchdowns.

“What a great career he has had,” Clawson said.

Senior quarterback John Wolford earned game MVP by completing 32-of-49 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 15 carries for 68 yards.

“I knew there was a chance of it being a shootout, and then the first half happened [38-28 Wake Forest at the break],” Wolford said. “I was like ‘oh, here it goes,’ but the big thing was the defense getting that stop at the end. They made some big turnovers. It really was a team effort. I’m really proud of how we fought.”

Said Washington: “John played his heart out all year—all four years he was here. People were just counting him out, but it’s exciting to see him to grow into the quarterback he has become.”

For the second consecutive year, an ACC team beat the SEC representative at the Belk Bowl, a lesser-known game in a sea of postseason matchups. But the Deacons were happy to have the opportunity to play in Charlotte and earn their eighth win of the season.

“Go in that locker room, and tell our players there’s too many bowl games,” Clawson said. “It’s not just about the game, and the game again was a great game—it went down to the wire, but our players remember the whole experience. Anybody who says there are too many bowl games, I guarantee you, didn’t play college football, or doesn’t coach it.”

 

 

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