Winston-Salem, N.C. (SU ATHLETICS) Down late but with 10 minutes on the clock, Syracuse football mounted a furious comeback bid, scoring twice in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, but ultimately falling 45-35 at Wake Forest Saturday night.
Syracuse (6-5, 3-4 ACC) had two touchdowns each from Sean Tucker, both on the ground, while LeQuint Allen threw a touchdown to Devaughn Cooper on a special play before reeling in a 41-yard touchdown from Garrett Shrader.
The Orange gathered 479 yards of offense, including 122 yards on the ground. Tucker accounted for 106 of those yards, surpassing the 3,000-yard mark for his Syracuse career.
The Orange had first possession at Truist Field, using the first drive of the game to chew nearly five minutes of clock before Tucker punched in a nine-yard run, taking a direct snap and capping an 11-play, 75-yard drive for a 7-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Syracuse’s defense held firm as the Demon Deacons hit a 33-yard field goal, trimming the Orange lead to 7-3 with 6:03 to play in the first.
The teams traded the ball several times over the remainder of the first quarter, including a boot by Max Von Marburg, which stopped at the Wake Forest 1-yard line, a 44-yard kick. Two more punts between the sides ended the first quarter with a 7-3 ‘Cuse lead.
Early in the second quarter, Sam Hartman threw a 12-yard touchdown to A.T. Perry to put Wake Forest up 10-7. The catch was bobbled, and the play went under review, but was upheld as a touchdown.
Syracuse answered quickly with a two-minute drive across 75 yards on just five plays, capped by Tucker’s second score of the day. The two-yard touchdown gave Syracuse a 14-10 lead with 13:41 to go in the half.
Midway through the second, Syracuse ran its special play as Cooper pulled in a 33-yard pass from Allen to put the Orange up 21-10. The play capped another fast scoring drive for the Orange, taking less than two minutes to cover 94 yards.
Wake Forest scored twice more in the second quarter to take a 24-21 lead into halftime. Hartman connected with Perry twice in a five minute span for the two scores.
Out of the break, Hartman hit Ke’Shawn Williams for a 17-yard touchdown, the lone score of the third quarter for a 31-21 lead. The Demon Deacons scored twice in the first three minutes of the third quarter, once on a four-yard rushing touchdown from Quinton Cooley and a pick-six that put Wake Forest up 45-21.
The Orange fought back to make it a two-score game as Allen pulled down a 41-yard pass-and-catch from Shrader, as the former tip-toed the sideline to find the end zone. With 5:13 to go, Shrader made it a 45-35 game with an 8-yard rushing touchdown as the Orange used just 1:06 off the clock.
Syracuse’s defense forced a punt with 51 seconds left down to the Orange 17-yard line. Trebor Pena returned the kick to the Wake Forest 40-yard line. Syracuse got within striking distance but a field goal try that would have made it a one-touchdown game fell left of the upright.
The Orange conclude the regular season next Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Boston College. Saturday’s ACC finale will be carried on ACC RSN (YES locally).