CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Wake Forest football team fell to Wisconsin, 42-28, in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.
The Deacs are now 15-12 all-time in neutral site games played in Charlotte. It snapped a three-game winning streak in the Queen City that included 2017 Belk Bowl and 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl wins.
A four-game winning streak in October highlighted the Demon Deacons’ run to a program record fifth-straight bowl appearance. The streak is the third longest in the ACC, trailing just Clemson and Miami (FL).
Redshirt junior wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson continued to cement his season as one of the best in Wake Forest history. The Murfreesboro, N.C. native caught a touchdown on his first three targets in the game, setting a new career best.
With 131 yards in the game, he became just the third player in program history to have four consecutive 100-yard receiving games, which also tied a program record. He joined Chris Givens in 2011 and Wayne Baumgardner in 1979 who each had streaks of four in their respective seasons.
Despite playing in just nine games this season, Roberson jumped into the top-10 in single season receiving yards. His 926 receiving yards in 2020 is 10th in Wake Forest history. He became the fourth receiver in the last three seasons to crack into the top 10, joining Sage Surratt, Greg Dortch and Kendall Hinton.
He also now leads the ACC in receiving yards per game with a season average of 102.9 yards per game.
Additionally in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, redshirt freshman wide receiver Donavon Greene had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game, posting six catches for 122 yards (20.3 average). He ended the season with 582 yards on 29 catches (20.1 average). Defensively, redshirt junior linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr. had a career day with a career-best 16 tackles, which included a career-best 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Fellow linebacker Ja’Cquez Williams also finished the afternoon 11 stops and recorded double-digit tackles for the second time this season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After receiving the ball on the opening kickoff, the Demon Deacon offense set the tone early. A deep shot to Donavon Greene for 36 yards set Wake Forest up in the redzone. A few plays later Sam Hartman found All-ACC selection Jaquarii Roberson for a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Deacs an early lead.
After the Wake Forest defense forced Wisconsin into a three-and-out on their first possession, redshirt freshman Taylor Morin hauled in a 46-yard reception down to get the Demon Deacons in the red zone quickly. Again, Hartman found PFF Second Team All-American Jaquarii Roberson in the endzone for an 18-yard score.
That score put Wake Forest in front, 14-0, at the 7:21 mark of the first quarter. The Deacs held the 14-point advantage after one quarter of play as the Badgers did not find the scoreboard until the 13:28 mark of the second stanza.
A blocked punt by Wisconsin with a 5:34 left in the first half, gave the Badgers the ball inside of the Wake Forest 10-yard line. It was the first blocked punt against the Deacs since Oct. 27, 2018 at Louisville. Wisconsin was able to convert, tying the game on a third-down quarterback sneak from one-yard out.
The score was knotted at 14-14 at halftime. After forcing a three-and-out to start the second half, Wake Forest got the ball on the 50 yard line. The Deacs scored in five plays as Roberson found the endzone for the third time in the game with 11:11 remaining in the third quarter, tying a Duke’s Mayo Bowl record and setting a new career-high.
Roberson had three touchdowns on his first three catches of the game.
Undaunted, Wisconsin returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards and the Badgers scored on that possession with 8:45 remaining in the period.
After just Hartman’s second interception of the season, the Badgers started with the ball inside Wake Forest territory again. Wisconsin connected on a swing route to the back and took the lead for the first time at 28-21 with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter.
After an additional pair of Demon Deacons turnovers, the Badgers were able to push their lead to 42-21 with 9:24 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Christian Beal-Smith found the endzone for the fifth time this season with six seconds remaining.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Redshirt junior wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson tied a Duke’s Mayo Bowl record on his first three targets of the game. The Murfreesboro, N.C. native had three catches and three touchdowns on those targets, tying a bowl game record for receiving touchdowns.
He joined Olamide Zaccheaus (Virginia, 2018), Christian Kirk (Texas A&M, 2017) and Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina, 2008).
He also entered the top-10 in Wake Forest history in single-season receiving touchdowns (8) and single-season receiving yards (926).
Wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson continued to prove he is one of the best wide receivers in the ACC and the country. He finished the day with a team-high eight catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns.
This marks the sixth consecutive game the redshirt junior has pulled in at least six catches.
This is his fourth consecutive game with over 100 or more receiving yards, becoming the first Wake Forest player to do so since Chris Givens in 2011.
130 (7) at Syracuse 10/31/20
167 (12) at North Carolina 11/14/20
138 (9) at Louisville 12/12/20
131 (8) vs. Wisconsin 12/30/20
Other Wake Forest wide receivers with four consecutive 100-yard games:
151 (5) at Virginia Tech 10/6//79
102 (6) at North Carolina 10/13/79
121 (7) vs. Maryland 10/20/79
159 (6) vs. Auburn 10/27/79
132 (7) at Boston College 10/1/11
101 (6) Florida State 10/8/11
140 (7) Virginia Tech 10/15/11
147 (6) at Duke 10/22/11
Roberson finished in the top 10 in single-season receiving yards, becoming the fourth wide receiver in the past three seasons to finish in the top 10 on the list:
- Chris Givens (2011) — 1,330
- Greg Dortch (2018) — 1.078
- Ricky Proehl (1989) — 1,053
- Kenneth Moore (2007) — 1,011
T-5. Sage Surratt & Kendall Hinton (2019) — 1,001
- Wayne Baumgardner (1979) — 1,000
- Desmond Clark (1997) — 950
- James Brim (1986) — 930
- Jaquarii Roberson (2020) — 926
- Marshall Williams (2009) — 867
With his three touchdowns on Wednesday, Roberson finished the 2020 season top 10 in single-season receiving touchdowns, becoming the fifth wide receiver in the past four seasons to finish in the top 10 on the list:
- Kenny Duckett (1980) — 12
T-2. Sage Surratt (2019) & Ricky Proehl (1989) — 11
T-4. Greg Dortch (2017), Cam Serigne (2017), Marlon Estes (1995) & Chris Givens (2011) — 9
T-8. Greg Dortch (2018), Chris Givens (2009), Ricky Proehl (1988), Desmond Clark (1998), Wayne Baumgardner (1979), John Zeglinski (1975), Jaquarii Roberson (2020) — 8
FROM COACH CLAWSON
“First off, congratulations to Wisconsin. Football is usually a game where the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. They made a lot less mistakes than us and they played much better fundamental football. I am proud of the way we competed to the very end. I thought our guys battled physically, but we just made too many fatal mistakes to overcome. A blocked punt that leads to a touchdown; we take a lead in the third quarter and then we give up a 59-yard kickoff return. We threw four interceptions in the last 17 or 18 minutes of the game. We had some violations on defense in the play-action game. What happened was a very good, hard fought and competitive game got out of hand because of all the turnovers and special teams miscues. We just made way too many mistakes to win the football game. Again, congratulations to Wisconsin. I certainly want to thank our coaches, staff, and players for the commitment they have made since July. I want to thank Danny Morrison and the Charlotte Sports Foundation for inviting us to play in their bowl game, and the Panthers and Duke’s Mayo for their sponsorship of this event. Again, we did a lot of good things. We moved the football. It is not too often you outgain a team 518 to 266 and lose the game. But when you throw four picks, you are not going to ever overcome that. I am disappointed, but proud of the effort. We’ll learn from it, grow from it and hopefully be a better program in 2021 because of it.”
The Dave Clawson era has seen a number of program records set and 2020 was no different. The Deacs continued to build on their own program record, reaching a fifth-straight bowl game. That mark is the third-longest streak in the ACC, trailing just Clemson and Miami (FL).
The month of October saw the Demon Deacons go a perfect 4-0, marking the first time since the 2007 season a Wake Forest team had accomplished that feat. The run included a three-game ACC winning streak and was highlighted by a 23-16 victory over No. 18 Virginia Tech on October 24.
That victory was Wake Forest’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2018.
With the help of two 50-plus point games against Campbell and North Carolina, Wake Forest set a new program record, scoring 36.0 points per game. The previous record was held by the 2017 Dave Clawson led squad who averaged 35.3 points per game.
Sam Hartman’s streak of 258 consecutive passes from Nov. 30, 2019 to Dec. 12, 2020 without an interception thrown ranks fifth in ACC history.
Nick Sciba currently ranks first in ACC history in career field goal percentage (min. 50 attempts) with an 89.1 percent clip. He is 57-of-64 in his career. The Lou Groza semifinalist ended the season with 12 consecutive made field goals. He goes into the 2021 campaign needing just 39 points to break the Wake Forest school record for career points. He currently sits at 299 in his career. Dustin Hopkins (Florida State, 2009-12) currently holds the ACC all-time scoring record with 466 points.
True freshman Nick Andersen recorded four interceptions this season, including three in the Deacons win over Virginia Tech. He is just the third player in the Dave Clawson era (Amari Henderson, 4 in 2019; Jesse Bates , 5 in 2016) to accomplish this feat and is just the ninth Demon Deacon to do so since the turn of the century.
For his efforts in that performance against the Hokies, Andersen earned multiple ACC and National awards. Additionally, he became the first player to have three in a single game since A.J. Greene (Nov. 21, 1987 at Georgia Tech).
Wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson proved he is one of the best wide receivers in the ACC and the country this fall. Roberson ranks in the top 10 in Wake Forest’s single season records in receiving yards (926) and receiving touchdowns (8). Additionally, he tied a program record by finishing the 2020 campaign with four-straight 100-yard receiving yard games.
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