NCAA College Football Week 4 Upset: Wake Forest surprises Virginia at Charlottesville, 37-17

9/25/2021

The Demon Deacons moved their record to a perfect 4-0 on the season after capturing its first road victory of the season at Virginia on Friday night.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Led by an outstanding and efficient offensive performance and a strong pass rush, the Wake Forest football team captured its first road victory of the season on Friday night as it defeated Virginia in Charlottesville, 37-17.

The Demon Deacons (4-0, 2-0 ACC) offense proved again to be one of the most potent in the country as they scored on their first seven possessions of the game before Wake Forest registered its first punt of the game with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter and a 20-point lead. 

Kicker Nick Sciba had a night to remember against the Cavaliers (2-2, 0-2 ACC) as the junior from Clover, S.C. marked his place in the Wake Forest and NCAA record books. Sciba, who has converted on an FBS best 19-straight field goal attempts, now holds the NCAA record for field goal percentage with a career mark of 64-of-71 (90.1 percent).

Additionally, he now holds the program record in points with 338, passing Wake Forest Sports Hall of Famer Sam Swank with his third field goal of the game in the fourth quarter. 

Defensively, the Demon Deacons registered a Dave Clawson-era best six sacks on Friday night. That mark is the second-best total for a single game in program history. Individually, Wake Forest was led by captain Luke Masterson as he totaled nine tackles, three tackles-for-loss and two sacks. 

Finally, for the fourth time in as many games, the Demon Deacons grabbed the lead early and claimed a sizable advantage at halftime. Wake Forest has combined to outscore its opponents this season in the opening half, 99-29. 

Meanwhile, Wake Forest’s offense has tallied a school-record 155 combined points in the first four games of the season. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Wake Forest opened scoring on Friday night with a nine-play 75-yard scoring drive to take an early 7-0 lead.
    • After a key third-down completion from QB Sam Hartman to WR A.T. Perry to keep the drive alive, Hartman connected with Taylor Morin on a 49-yard touchdown pass to giv the Deacons the early lead. 
  • Virginia responded on its first possession getting the ball all the way down to the Wake Forest four-yard line. Undaunted, Wake Forest’s defense stiffened up and held the Cavaliers without a score as second-year cornerback Caelen Carson broke up QB Brennan Armstrong’s pass on fourth down.  
  • The Demon Deacons offense engineered another scoring drive on the ensuing possession as the best kicker in Wake Forest and Atlantic Coast Conference history, Nick Sciba, capped off a 12-play, 67-yard drive with a 46-yard field goal. 
    • The made field goal tied his longest of the 2021 season and it was his best mark since his rookie year in 2018. 
  • After UVA brought the game within a touchdown on its next drive with a 21-yard field goal, Wake Forest answered with a career-long 63-yard run by Justice Ellison on the first play of its drive. 
    • With the run getting the Demon Deacons inside the 15-yard line, Wake Forest scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Ellison six plays later. 
  • With Wake Forest leading 17-3 with 9:25 remaining in the first half, the only remaining scoring happened when Nick Sciba tallied a chip-shot field goal from 23 yards out.
    • Sciba knocked it through the uprights for his 18th consecutive made field goal and a piece of history as Sciba is now tied the NCAA record for career field goal percentage. At that point he had made 63-of-70 for his career or 90 percent.
  • The Demon Deacons have now led at the half in each of their four games this season.
  • On the first drive of the second half, the Cavaliers scored to make it a 20-10 game with 12:37 left in the quarter.
  • Wake Forest answered with a touchdown score of their own as Blake Whitehart reeled in a 12-yard reception from Hartman to put the Deacs up 27-10 with 9:02 remaining in the third. 
    • The Deacs successfully converted a 4th and 1 from Virginia’s 15-yard line as Beal-Smith powered his way for two yards. 
  • The Cavaliers responded with a touchdown pass with just over five minutes remaining as Wake Forest still possessed a double-digit lead (27-17). 
  • The Demon Deacons increased their lead to 34-17 with a 12-yard touch pitch and catch from Hartman to Perry. 
    • A 31-yard reception to Roberson on 1st and 10 and a 15-yard penalty moved the Deacs to Virginia’s 15 yard-line. 
  • Wake Forest’s defense forced a three-and-out on Virginia’s next drive to give the Deacon offense possession with less than a minute left in the third. 
    • A 35-yard field goal from Sciba added to Wake Forest’s advantage (37-17) with 12:56 left in regulation. 
  • On the final drive of the game, Wake Forest stopped Virginia’s offense again to secure the 37-17 win. 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT 
Nick Sciba had a historic night against the Cavaliers. The junior from Clover, S.C. marked his place in the record books not only for Wake Forest, but for the NCAA as well. Sciba, who has now converted on a nation’s-best 19 field goal attempts in a row, currently holds the NCAA record for field goal percentage with a career mark of 64-of-71 (90.1 percent).

Additionally, he now holds the program record in points with 338, passing Wake Forest Sports Hall of Famer Sam Swank. 

STAGGERING STATISTICS 
With the 37-17 victory, Wake Forest extended the Deacs win streak over the Cavaliers to five games, the longest in the 51-meeting history of this rivalry.

Wake Forest’s defense put pressure on the Cavalier offense all night long. The Demon Deacon defense recorded six sacks, which is believed to be the most in a single game since 1992 when the Demon Deacons recorded a single-game record nine sacks against Maryland. 

On the offensive side of the ball, Wake Forest is off to a historic start. The Demon Deacons have scored a school-record 155 combined points in the first four games of the season. This tops the 2017 when the Deacs put up 151 points 

FROM COACH CLAWSON – “A really good team win. I credit our players and coaches, especially coming back on a short week. We had a good week of preparation. Our focus was good. I certainly want to give Virginia credit. They have a great program and Bronco (Mendenhall) is one of the coaches I have the utmost respect for. To their credit, they never quit. They’re a dangerous football team. 

“It was great to see our crowd, our parents and fans who made the trip. Any time you can get a win on the road in the ACC, it’s a good win. We executed really well in the second half. They came back and scored and had a chance to get back into it and we responded. We got good pressure on the quarterback when we needed it. We were a little bend, don’t break. We gave up some plays and some yards, but kept them out of the end zone for the most part. Our offense was incredibly efficient. We’d like to make some first downs at the end, but again just a really good win. 

COURTESY WAKE FOREST ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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