Syracuse football: Orange proves demonic for Wake Forest offense in victory

A pair of defensive touchdowns propels SU to its first conference victory.

More than 25,000 fans were sprinkled in the stands on a sunny afternoon at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C., to see two Atlantic Coast Conference teams battle for their first conference victory this season. 

Instead, they witnessed a Syracuse blowout. 

The Orange (3-4) scored two defensive touchdowns and piled up 199 rushing yards to rout Wake Forest, 30-7. 

“I’m very pleased with this victory today,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said. “We’ve had a lot of kids injured, a lot of kids banged up. With some of the youth playing across the board, I was pleased with the effort.” 

Included in that group was true freshman quarterback AJ Long, who made his first career start under center in the place of injured redshirt junior Terrel Hunt. Long followed up his impressive performance against Florida State by throwing for 171 yards and rushing for a score in the second quarter. 

Wake Forest (2-5) scored its first and only touchdown in the first quarter on a 10-yard connection between John Wolford and Cam Serigne, giving the Demon Deacons a 7-0 lead. 

After that, the Orange took complete control. SU’s defense held Wake to only 170 yards of total offense and only 71 yards on the ground. 

“Out of all the games this year, today is the most disappointed I’ve been,” Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson said. 

With Long at the helm, the SU offense finally showed signs of life. A Cole Murphy field goal near the end of the first quarter cut the lead to four. Long’s four-yard scamper in the second put Syracuse ahead for good. 

“(Long) showed his athleticism out there where he took off with it,” Shafer said. 

SU’s second touchdown came off an interception from senior defensive end Robert Welsh. He returned a misdirected pass 42 yards to give the Orange a 17-10 lead with five minutes remaining in the second quarter. 

Senior linebacker Dyshawn Davis hit Wolford when he was about to throw the ball, which caused the interception. Wolford did not return to the game and stood in street clothes on the side line for the rest of the afternoon. 

Syracuse’s last touchdown was delivered by defensive end Micah Robinson, who recovered a fumble and ran 51 yards unimpeded to the end zone. 

“It popped up in the air, and I grabbed it and ran for my life,” Robinson said. “I was just running as fast as I could.” 

Murphy converted two additional field goal attempts in the second half to give the Orange extra breathing room. 

Syracuse travels to “Death Valley” next weekend to battle No. 24 Clemson, ranked second in the ACC Atlantic division. For the first time in over a month, it does so with momentum from a complete team performance and victory. 

“We’re taking it one day at a time...just worrying about getting better everyday,” Shafer said

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