Wake denies BC late, holds on for monumental program win

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe had tried all week to keep everyone calm as the Demon Deacons prepared to play one of the biggest games in school history.

But as students tried to tear down the goal posts and his players hooted and hollered in the locker room, Grobe finally loosened up.

"It's time to dream a little bit," Grobe said.

Kevin Marion had an 81-yard touchdown run and Patrick Ghee intercepted a pass in the end zone with just under a minute left Saturday night as No. 22 Wake Forest held off No. 16 Boston College 21-14.


ESPN Classic
will air Boston College @ Wake Forest on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET as the ESPN College Football Game of the Week.

Jyles Tucker had two sacks and forced a key fourth-quarter fumble and the Demon Deacons limited the Eagles to 28 yards rushing to move to 8-1 for the first time since 1944, tying a school record for victories in a season. At 4-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake is in a first-place tie with Maryland in the Atlantic Division.

"I don't think too many people seriously thought this was a possibility tonight," Grobe said. "They thought the party was going to be over tonight. But the Deacs move on. It's fun."

Matt Ryan set career highs by completing 40-of-57 passes for 402 yards and a touchdown, but had two interceptions - both in the end zone - for the mistake-prone Eagles (7-2, 3-2), who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Boston College was also called for 10 penalties for 70 yards, while Wake was flagged only three times.

"Too many mistakes," Eagles coach Tom O'Brien said. "We can't have all those procedure penalties and do the things we did and expect to win a football game against a good team like Wake Forest."

The Demon Deacons, picked to finish last in their division, continued to show they're to be taken seriously, despite numerous injuries. Wake never trailed against BC. The students stormed the field at the final gun as the Demon Deacons snapped a nine-game losing streak to ranked teams and won a game in November for the first time since 2003.

"It made me feel like we're moving in the right direction," Grobe said.

Early in the third quarter, Marion faked a handoff on an end around and sprinted out to the right sideline. Kenneth Moore, a wide receiver who started at running back because of injuries, threw the key block to spring Marion on the fifth-longest run in school history.

"I came around the edge and Kenny Moore had a chop block. I just went off that block and ran," Moore said. "It was unbelievable run."

It came one play after the Eagles failed to convert on fourth-and-10 from the Wake 27.

But the Eagles did convert on fourth down on their next possession, as Ryan's 2-yard scramble for a TD cut the lead to 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Then every break went Wake's way in the final period:

-Instant replay overturned a fumble that Boston College recovered at the Wake 14, ruling it an incomplete pass.

-Eagles walk-on kicker Steve Aponavicius missed a 40-yard field goal wide left.

-L.V. Whitworth, after one of BC's few successful runs, fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Tucker at the Wake 37.

-After Ryan had converted on fourth-and-10, three plays later he overthrew a ball in the end zone for Kevin Challenger and Ghee picked it off to seal the win.

Ryan also overthrew Challenger at the end of the first half and Josh Gattis picked it off in the end zone - Gattis' fourth straight game with an interception.

"There's critical situations where the quarterback needs to come through for his team, and I didn't do that today," Ryan said. "I didn't do it at the end of the game, and I didn't do it when we were in the red zone and I threw that first interception. Those are situations where a quarterback can't make mistakes, and I did and that's frustrating."

Riley Skinner, who was 15-of-23 for 120 yards and two interceptions, took advantage of a Boston College secondary mix-up midway through the second quarter, finding a wide open Nate Morton over the middle for a 46-yard touchdown to give the Demon Deacons a 14-7.

Boston College was forced to abandon the running game early, but stayed in the game behind Ryan. His 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jon Loyte on the first play of the second quarter tied it at 7.

The Demon Deacons, hosting their first game between two ranked teams since they upset Auburn in 1979, got the large crowd on its feet early on the chilly clear night. Willie Idlette raced for a 9-yard touchdown run off a reverse midway through the first quarter to make it 7-0.