Wake Forest is well-known in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but most people think of Wake as a basketball school. Until recently, Wake Forest had never been a strong football school. But Wake had their best season ever in 2006. Wake finished with their first 10-win season in the history of the school. Improbably, the squad was led by rookie QB Riley Skinner, who earned his spot when starting quarterback Mauk got injured. Wake went on to win the ACC championship against Georgia Tech, the first ACC title for Wake since 1970. With this win, Wake advanced to their first-ever BCS bowl. Although they lost in the Orange Bowl, they entered the 2007 season with confidence and swagger.
The 2007 season started with a few rough spots for the Deacons, losing close battles to Boston College and Nebraska. Going into the September 22 game against University of Maryland, Wake had a 1 – 2 record. The game was in Winston-Salem, and started with Wake going up 3 – 0 on a field goal by Sam Swank. However, Maryland responded with a field goal to tie things up and then scored a touchdown to take a 10 – 7 lead.
Despite the home field advantage, Wake struggled in the second quarter. The Deacs couldn’t put together any offense. The Terrapins ran into the inzone for another touchdown to take a 17 – 3 lead going into the half.
Things didn’t get prettier in the beginning of the 3rd quarter. Maryland made a 59 yard drive down the field and scored another TD on a 6 yard run. The Terrapins were completely in control of the game with a 24 – 3 lead. Anyone who has been a Wake Forest fan knew this feeling well – the frustration of watching the Deacs struggle on the field… the agony and sinking in your stomach. You want to keep some hope alive, but all the times you hoped before ended in crushing losses.
Some Wake fans, feeling the despair and pointlessness of watching, actually left the stadium. But the loyal ones who kept the hope alive were about to be treated to the show of their lives. With a little more than a minute left in the third quarter, Maryland had the ball and was driving down the field, looking like they were about to blow the lead wide open. Maryland threw the ball towards Ball in the inzone… and IT’S INTERCEPTED!!! Alphonso Smith snagged the ball… but he wasn’t finished. Smith dodged Terp after Terp and ran 100 yards down the field – AMAZING!!!! Smith’s 100 yard interception return was insane!! 24 – 10, Maryland.
In the 4th quarter, Riley Skinner kept the hope alive and showed why he was the 2006 ACC Rookie of the Year. Riley scrambled out of trouble to make plays. He was cool under the pressure, making smart decisions. Skinner took his team on an 82 yard drive and then ran the ball into the inzone on a 1 yard sneak… another Wake Forest touchdown! 24 – 17, Maryland.
However, it looked like Wake found their stride too late in the game. With less than 2 minutes to play, Wake still trailed by a touchdown, but they had one more chance. Skinner seemed un-phased by the game clock, but his team had 80 yards to go down the field. It seemed impossible, but Skinner and the Deacs inched their way down the field, getting close to the inzone. With a few seconds left in the game, it looked like the drive was for nothing, as Wake still hadn’t been able to score. One last chance…. Skinner with the ball…. 3 seconds left…. and Skinner completes a 6 yard pass to John Tereshinski!!!! TOUCHDOWN DEACS!!!
Sam Swank kicked the extra point to tie things up. What an improbable rally by Wake Forest!! The finals drives by Skinner were simply stunning. The game ended in a tie and went to OT.
Wake got first possession, and scored a touchdown on a 6 yard run by Josh Adams. TOUCHDOWN WAKE FOREST!!! Wake was determined to hold onto their first lead since the first quarter. On fourth down, Jeremey Thompson delivered a sick sack, forcing Maryland to fumble. When the Terps recovered the ball, Boo Robinson delivered another sack. Back-to-back sacks by the Deacs, who hold on to win, 31 – 24!!
Wake Forest fans stormed the field, absolutely thrilled with the unbelievable rally and OT win. Skinner finished the game with 219 yards, completing 22 of 35 passes. Skinner reminded everyone that he is the man and that his Wake Forest Demon Deacons are incredibly tough mentally and physically. Don’t count them out!