Wake Forest rides defense in win over Boston CollegeNov 5, 2006 - 3:45 AM WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Patrick Ghee is helping Wake Forest shed its reputation as a basketball school.
Ghee's last-minute interception in the end zone was the final of a series of clutch defensive plays by the 22nd-ranked Demon Deacons in a 21-14 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over by No. 16 Boston College.
The surprising Demon Deacons matched the 1944 squad for the best start in school history as they improved to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the ACC Atlantic to join Maryland atop the division standings.
Wake Forest tied the school mark for victories in a season and Saturday's game marked just the second time that two ranked teams played at Groves Stadium.
"I don't think that too many people thought that tonight was a possibility," Wake coach Jim Grobe said. "It is fun right now and it is going to be fun tomorrow, too, but come Monday we will go back to work. These guys have worked so hard and they have a vision as to where they want to go."
Boston College, which entered with a four-game winning streak and a league-best 16-4 record since joining the ACC in 2005, moved the ball at will, but Wake's defense repeatedly came up with drive-killing plays, none bigger than Ghee's interception of Matt Ryan in the end zone with 57 seconds left.
"Matt put it up and I tried to make something happen," said BC running back Andre Challenger, the target of the final pass. "Unfortunately, the DB (Ghee) had a good play on the ball and intercepted it. I had to beat two guys on the play and I only beat one."
Wake Forest beat a ranked team for the first time in 10 attempts and posted its first win in November since the first day of the month in 2003. It was especially critical with away games at Florida State and Maryland sandwiched around a home game vs. Virginia Tech looming in the next three weeks.
"We in past years just haven't finished. This year we finish," Demon Deacons running back Kenny Moore said. "It's a tough road ahead. The guys know it's a tough road ahead. We've just got to prepare each week and go out and play each week."
Ryan completed 40-of-57 passes for a career-high 402 yards, but Wake stopped two earlier drives in the fourth quarter.
With the score, 21-14, Demon Deacons linebacker Jyles Tucker recovered a fumble by running back L.V. Whitworth at the 37 with five minutes to play. Just over four minutes earlier, Wake stiffened as BC drove to its 22 and Steve Aponavicius missed a 40-yard field goal with 9:11 left.
"We felt going in that they were the most balanced team that we have played, and we felt like if we could stop the run then we would be able to dial up some pressure and have a chance," Grobe said. "I don't know if there are many teams better than Boston College. They are the real deal. "
The Demon Deacon offense did their part with a pair of quick-strike touchdowns following momentum-sapping defensive plays.
After stopping BC on 4th-and-10 early in the third quarter, Wake scored on its very next play when wide receiver Kevin Marion broke loose on a reverse for an 81-yard TD run to make it 21-7 with 12:03 left in the period.
Marion was sprung on a great block downfield by Moore, allowing him to get to the sideline and run away from the defense."
"I was fortunate enough to pick up two (tacklers)," Moore said. "It feels real good. But you can't just sit on 8-1."
"That was a big change in the game," Eagles coach Tom O'Brien said. "But we hung in there and kept fighting. We got it back to 21-14. But we could never tie the game."
The Demon Deacons had struck in similar fashion in the second quarter. After pinning the Eagles at their own 1 after a sack of Ryan, they needed just one play to convert following a punt.
Quarterback Ryan Skinner found Nate Morton all alone down the middle of the field for a 46-yard TD and a 14-7 lead with 8:36 remaining in the half.
Wake Forest opened the scoring when wideout Willie Idlette swept nine yards around right end on a reverse with eight minutes left in opening quarter.
"We ran a couple of reverses that worked out really well for us," said Skinner, who was 15-of-23 for 120 yards with the one TD and two interceptions. "We thought that Boston College would bite on it, and they did."
BC (7-2, 3-2 Atlantic) fell out of a tie for the division lead with just its second league loss in 12 games.
"Our guys just find ways and they compete for four quarters,"Grobe said. "We have a football team that has learned by experience. We're finding ways to win late."
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