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Demon Deacons Fall To Georgia Tech 30-16

By: Wake Forest Athletics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Demon Deacons football program dropped their Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday, 30-16. Despite the loss, Allegacy Stadium hosted its third sellout crowd of the season as 32,528 fans and 3,202 students packed the stands and witnessed junior running back Justice Ellison tally a career-high 137 yards on 18 carries and DaShawn Jones recorded his third interception through four games in the 2023 season. 

In addition to Ellison on offense, Wesley Grimes hauled in his second touchdown reception of the season while Taylor Morin and Jahmal Banks each recorded six receptions. 

Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons defense tallied six tackles for loss and was led by Dylan Hazen with nine tackles while Jones recorded a first-half interception.  

Wake Forest returns to Allegacy Federal Credit Union Stadium on Oct. 21 when the Deacs host Pitt. Meanwhile, the Deacs are on a bye next week before a pair of road games at Clemson (Oct. 7) and at Virginia Tech (Oct. 14). 


  • Wake Forest won the toss and deferred its choice to the second half.
  • The Deacon defense forced the Yellow Jackets into a three-and-out to start the game before a Taylor Morin fair catch at the 21-yard line started Wake Forest’s first offensive drive of the night. 
  • The Demon Deacons got on the board first with a 25-yard field goal by Matthew Dennis.
    • Justice Ellison helped set the Deacs’ field goal up with a 29-yard dash off the left side down to the Georgia Tech 10-yard line. 
  • Georgia Tech answered with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in 2:35 to take a 7-3 lead with 4:49 to play in the opening stanza. 
  • Wake Forest suddenly stopped Georgia Tech’s third drive of the night, as DaShawn Jones intercepted Haynes King at the Wake Forest 12-yard and returned it 13 yards.
    • The interception was Jones’ third of the 2023 campaign. 
  • The Yellow Jackets would take a 14-3 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first half, completing a seven-play, 83-yard drive that took 3:09 off the clock. 
  • Georgia Tech would extend its lead to 17-3 with 3:07 left in the second quarter following a 25-yard field goal. 
  • The Yellow Jackets would push their advantage to 20-3, hitting a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the opening half. 
  • Justice Ellison recorded back-to-back 15-yard runs on the final two plays of the first half. 
  • The Deacs opened the second half with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a seven-yard rushing score from Demond Claiborne with 10:26 left in the third quarter.
    • Ellison carried the ball four times on the drive and gained 31 yards while a pass interference call on the Yellow Jackets pushed Wake Forest into the red zone.
  • Georgia Tech extended its lead to 23-9 off a 27-yard field goal conversion with 10:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. 
  • Wake Forest struck back, however, with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 16-yard touchdown connection between Mitch Griffis and Wesley Grimes.
    • Griffis stood tall in the pocket and delivered to Grimes, who’s double-move created the separation to go up and haul in the jump ball in the end zone. 
  • The Deacs’ comeback attempt would fall short, as Georgia Tech intercepted Wake Forest with 2:18 remaining in the contest and converted the turnover into a touchdown. 

Junior running back Justice Ellison set a new career high with 137 rushing yards on 18 attempts on the ground. The 100-yard performance marked the second of his career, previously hitting the mark with 114 yards against Florida State on Oct. 1, 2022. 

His 100-yard performance also marked the third time this season a Demon Deacon running back has reached 100 yards on the ground. 

With six receptions in the game, Taylor Morin has moved up the receptions chart in program history. His 140 currently ranks tied for 13th in school history, leaving him just two shy of the top 10:

                                                   Years                Receptions
1. Michael Campanaro               2010-13            229 
2. Desmond Clark                     1995-98            216
3. Ricky Proehl                         1986-89            188
4. Jammie Deese                       1996-99            184 
5. Cam Serigne                         2014-17            174 
6. A.T. Perry                             2018-22            171 
7. Chris Givens                         2009-11            163 
8. Thabiti Davis                        1994-97            161 
9. James Brim                           1983-86            153 
10. John Henry Mills                 1988-92            142 
     Greg Dortch                         2017-18            142 
12. Wayne Baumgardner           1978-81            141 
13. Taylor Morin                       2019-Pres.        140
14. Kenneth Moore                   2004-07            139 
15. Todd Dixon                          1990-93            134 
16. Red O’Quinn                       1946-49            124 
17. Tabari Hines                        2015-17            123


“As always, I want to thank our fans and our students who came out tonight and supported us and certainly a lot of credit to Georgia Tech. I think Coach Key’s doing a good job; they’re a talented football team and they deserved to win the game. I’ll just share with you what I shared with our football team. I’m proud of their effort. We played hard, all the intangibles, but when a team keeps making the same mistakes over and over and over and they’re not learning, that’s a sign of a team that’s not really well coached. Our job is to fix the mistakes and correct them so we don’t repeat them. After three turnovers last week, we had five turnovers tonight. We’re not going to beat anybody if we turn it over three times, let alone five times. So you walk out of a game that you made 29 first downs to their 13 and that tells you physically you held up and you should be able to compete. Right now, we’re just beating ourselves. We’re not giving ourselves a chance. And we were probably never going to have that margin of error. So again, proud of our effort level. This team has to grow and improve every week. After last weekend, I was hoping we would come out a little better and that we learned a lesson, and honestly that part of it got worse. I’ll always own the responsibility for that. I think the bye week is coming at a good time. We’ve got to heal up, get healthy, have to evaluate what we’re doing, and we’ve got to fix our mistakes, because if you keep doing this it’s going to be a long next two months.”

Wake Forest heads into its bye week next week, before a pair of road games at Clemson (Oct. 7) and Virginia Tech (Oct. 14). The Demon Deacons next home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 21 when Pittsburgh comes to Winston-Salem. 

Wake Forest Athletics continues to roll out unique ticket options, like the Bojangles 4-Pack, which includes a $20 gift card per account! This ticket option comes with four tickets on the east side of Allegacy Stadium and one LJVM Coliseum Lot parking pass. Based on high demand, 4-packs for Pitt (Oct. 21) is the best value for the 2023 season. At current prices ($99), fans can save a minimum of $66 with a single game 4-ticket pack which includes a parking pass. 

Single-game tickets can also be purchased for the three remaining home games.






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