Game 559: Demon Deacons defeat A&M Aggies in a high scoring thriller, 55-52
Charlotte, NC – Texas A&M took a 42-41 lead into the final period of our Game 559, and the Aggies and Deacons exchanged the lead three more times until Wake Forest’s Matt Colburn (21 rushes for 150 yards, one TD) blasted over from the one with 2:28 remaining to lift WFU past A&M in the Belk Bowl, 55-52. A&M drove to their 44 following Colburn’s run, but the Demon Deacon defense halted them thereafter to preserve their second bowl victory for the first time in school history for two years in a row. For Collegefootballfan.com, our first Belk Bowl set a record for most points scored in a regulation game with 107 total points. In 1999, we attended Army’s 59-52 victory over Louisville, but two OTs attributed to the final score.
This game started with A&M blocking two Wake punts. The first resulted in a TD as Charles Oliver recovered for the Aggies in the end zone. The second block started the Aggies from their 45. Following a 43-yard pass from Nick Starkel (42 of 63, 499 yards, four TDs, 1 INT) to Christian Kirk (13 catches for 189, three TDs), it put A&M on the Wake two. Trayveon Williams took it in from there for what looked could be an Aggie beat down of the Demon Deacons.
However, under the leadership of their tough, senior QB John Wohlford (33 of 49, 400 yards, four TDs), the Deacons not only tied game 559 at 14-all after their next two possessions, but they raced out to a 31-14 lead in the second period. Fantastic catches by WRs Scotty Washington (an ESPN Top 10-er) and by Tabari Hines who dove before going out of the end zone for the second score highlighted the Deacon offensive action (his catch should have been an ESPN Top 10-er, too. A bad non-call in the NBA was No. 1 – they gotta be kidding.). Wake’s scoring spree ended with A&M’s third block of a kick, this one on a 43-yard FG attempt.
The two teams traded scores through the end of the second period. Starkel and Kirk connected on scoring strikes from 54 and ten yards respectively. Sandwiched in between, Wohlford hit his TE Cam Serigne (9 catches for 112 yards, one TD) for a 37-yard TD. The Deacs led 38-28 going into halftime, but the way these two offenses were clicking, no one had any clue if either defense would rise to the occasion today.
Maybe the Aggies D would step things up in Game 559. Their defense forced Wake to punt after a three-and-out to start the third period. Followed by Williams’ 43-yard run to the Wake 17, the Aggies closed to within three on Starkel’s nine-yard pass to Kirk. On two consecutive possessions, both defenses forced punts. Wake ended the scoring drought with Mike Williams’ 27-yard FG. The defenses again stepped up on consecutive series, but this time with turnovers. LB Jaboree Williams picked Starkel, but Alex Bachman fumbled away a completed pass recovered by A&M on their 33. Keith Ford picked up 37 yards on the ground this drive with 33 on the first play and one for the final yard for a touchdown to head into Q4 leading, 42-41.
Offensive battle continues
Before Colburn’s winning run, the offenses dominated again during the last 15 minutes. Dave LaCamera’s 19-yard FG extended A&M’s lead by four. RB Cade Carney finished a 69-yard Demon Deacon drive with a one-yard TD to give WFU a 48-45 lead. OT anyone? I could hear the voice of Lee Corso in back of my mind after I pondered this, “Not so fast, my friend.” Starkel led the Aggies back on a 10-play, 72-yard drive culminating with a 13-yard TD pass to Jharron Ausbon to go up again by four. Wohlford led his team back right away with a 13-play, 69-yard drive with Colburn providing the honors of scoring the winning touchdown in the 55-52 victory. What a game!
We attended game 559 with good friend and Wake alumnus Jim Harton along with his fellow WFU classmates. Most I had met this season at the Wake vs. Louisville game in Winston-Salem won by the Deacs, 42-32. All of Jim’s (“Bugs’”) cohorts still refer to each other by their collegiate nicknames. I sat with Bug and One-Iron, met with AC and others along the way. Goober and Wheels didn’t make it this time. Earl goes by the name Earl because he claims to have something like 53 different nicknames. I now belong to this elite club with a nickname of my own – “8 and 0” Koreivo.
In the annals of collegefootballfan.com history, Wake is undefeated at 8-0 dating back to 1980, something these alums cannot fathom no matter who I saw them play. They are considering chipping in to not only buy me season tickets for next season, but could offer up a condo to settle in Winston-Salem although Jim and his wife Courtenay tell me I might as well just move in with them down there. Not only are the Deacs 8-0 in my presence, but this includes a 3-0 bowl record with wins over Navy, Temple, and now Texas A&M. I believe there is a bright future ahead for the Demon Deacons whether I see all their games or not.
The Future of Wake Forest football
With HC Dave Clawson steering this program, the future for Wake football looks promising. A new QB will need to step in to replace Wohlford next season and TE Serigne graduates as well from the offense, but lot of experienced skill players and the entire offensive line returns in 2018. Also from what we saw versus Louisville and the scouting report of Bugs and his schoolmates, we look forward to exciting WR Greg Dortch return to action next season. He is an explosive, exciting player and had four TDs against Louisville before suffering a stomach injury and missing the rest of the 2017 season. He could be a serious contender as a Heisman candidate over the next few years. Mark these words!
John Wohlford might not be a contender for the next level of pro play because of his stature, but based on toughness, smarts, a strong arm, and resilience, if anybody lacking in height can pull it off at the next level, it would be him. We envision his future being a successful football coach as a career path if he does or doesn’t play at the next level. Based on our experience seeing him play twice this year, he will land as our pick as top QB for our all Collegefootballfan.com 2017 team to be announced in its entirety after the season.
CFF.com has one more game to attend this season. No, not the CFP Championship game! The on-line price tag for that game is way out of our price range. I budgeted for it, but not nearly enough. Instead, we will attend another championship game to add our Hit List (not a “Bucket” list, too much negativity in that term) and one that we can afford. We will be in Frisco, Texas next Saturday for the FCS Championship between James Madison (14-0) and North Dakota State (13-1). This should be a great game! JMU comes in as defending champs and the Bison won five consecutive national championships the five years prior to that.
For Collegefootballfan.com, we will be attending our 28th game of the 2017 season setting a new record for the amount of games attended in one season. We attended 26 in 2014 and 2017. We will definitely see at least two and possibly three national champions play by the time this season is over if Clemson wins the FBS. What a memorable season for Collegefootballfan.com!