Wake Forest Blows Out Rutgers

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The Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 38-10 to win the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Wake Forest’s offense was just too much for Rutgers’ defense, and the Scarlet Knights’ offense had less than 300 yards on offense. Wake Forest finishes the season at 11-3, and Rutgers is now 5-8 in Greg Schiano‘s second year as head coach. Here’s a quarter-by-quarter recap of Wake Forest’s big win over Rutgers.

Quarter 1: Offenses Come Out Rolling

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons’ first drive started with two runs by Christian Beal-Smith for a first down. Quarterback Sam Hartman then got into action, and he had a big play connecting with Taylor Morin for 25 yards. Penalties by Rutgers’ defense allowed Wake Forest to get in the red zone; Hartman finished the drive with a throw to Brandon Chapman for a touchdown on the opening drive.

Wake Forest’s second drive was more of the same, and Beal-Smith had a big run for 15 yards to get the Demon Deacons past midfield. Hartman capped off the drive with a 30-yard bomb to A.T. Perry for Wake Forest’s second touchdown.

Rutgers

Rutgers faced a third-and-long situation early during the first drive, but quarterback Noah Vedral was able to connect with Matt Alaimo for 20 yards to move the sticks. Vedral then had a nice throw to Jovani Haskins for another 20 yards. The Scarlet Knights’ offense was really only efficient in the first quarter. Aaron Young ran the ball in from 12 yards out to give Rutgers its only touchdown of the game.

Wake Forest ended the first quarter leading 14-7 over Rutgers. 

Quarter 2: Wake Forest Establishes Control

Wake Forest

Christian Turner got the most touches on Wake Forest’s third drive. He had three rushes for 20 yards that got the Demon Deacons in the red zone, but Hartman was sacked on third down to stall the drive. Nick Sciba did make a field goal to stretch Wake Forest’s lead.   

Wake Forest’s fourth drive was a three-and-out after two consecutive incompletions by Hartman on second down and third down. This was primarily caused by Beal-Smith losing five yards on first down on a rush.

The Demon Deacons’ final drive of the half was motivated by a run from Justin Ellison for 18 yards. Wake Forest got back in the red zone thanks to a big catch by Blake Whiteheart. Hartman did an excellent job of spreading the field in this game by throwing to multiple receivers. Sciba made a field goal from 30 yards to end the half.   

Rutgers

Rutgers’ second drive was prolonged thanks to a facemask penalty committed by Wake Forest’s defense to get the Scarlet Knights in opposing territory. However, Vedral was sacked on third-and-goal, forcing Rutgers to settle for a field goal.

The Scarlet Knights had Evan Simon and Gavin Wimsatt throwing the ball on the third drive, but it was to no success. Vedral connected with Joshua Youngblood for a big play, but Rutgers’ offense was stopped at midfield after a completion for negative yardage on third down. 

Yet again, Rutgers managed to get in the red zone on the fourth drive. However, the Scarlet Knights struggled near the end zone, and Vedral ended up throwing an interception on third down.

Wake Forest entered halftime up 20-10 over Rutgers. 

Quarter 3: Defenses Prevail

Wake Forest

Wake Forest began its sixth drive with good field position near midfield. However, Hartman was sacked on second down, which put the Demon Deacons in a difficult situation; they failed to convert on third down. 

Wake Forest faced a third-and-26 situation on the seventh drive, and Hartman was able to hit Ke’Shawn Williams for 30 yards to keep the offense on the field. The Demon Deacons got back in the red zone, but Hartman threw incompletions on second and third down. Sciba made another field goal for Wake Forest. 

Rutgers

Rutgers’ fifth drive ended quickly with an interception thrown by Wimsatt. The Scarlet Knights just could not get their offense back in shape from this point forward.

Johnny Langan had two throws on Rutgers’ sixth drive, but Vedral was later sacked on third down leading the Scarlet Knights to punt again. 

Rutgers’ seventh drive looked unpromising at the start, but Wake Forest’s defense committed a personal foul penalty; this allowed Rutgers’ offense to cross midfield. Like the previous drive, the Scarlet Knights were fine until Vedral came back in the game. Rutgers chose to go for it on fourth down, but Vedral threw an incompletion.  

Wake Forest led Rutgers 23-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

Quarter 4: Wake Forest Finishes the Deal

Wake Forest

Hartman got back in rhythm on Wake Forest’s eighth drive, much like he was in the first quarter. He had two nice throws to Perry and Morin for first downs. Hartman finished the drive with a pass to Chapman for his second touchdown.

Hartman started the Demon Deacons’ ninth drive with a throw to Williams for 10 yards. Turner had four rushes for 20 yards on this drive, and Ellison capped it off with a run from 27 yards out for a touchdown. 

Quinton Cooley had three rushes on Wake Forest’s final drive to end the game.

Rutgers

Wimsatt came in for Vedral at quarterback for Rutgers’ eighth drive. He started with a run for 30 yards, which got the Scarlet Knights past midfield. However, he threw an incompletion on third down, and he came up short on a pass to Langan to turn the ball over on downs. 

Again, Rutgers got near the red zone on its ninth drive of the game. In shorter field, the Scarlet Knights’ offense just could not find a way to get in the end zone. Wimsatt threw two consecutive incompletions to turn it over on downs; this was Rutgers’ last drive of the game.

Wake Forest won 38-10 over Rutgers.

Concluding Thoughts

Wake Forest was the overwhelming favorite over Rutgers heading into this game, and the Demon Deacons proved they were the better team with a complete game. Texas A&M probably would have put up a more competitive fight if the Aggies had played, but that will never be known. Regardless, this Rutgers’ squad is getting better, and the Scarlet Knights’ record has improved each season over the last three years. It will be great to see how these teams fare in 2022 with higher expectations.