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Wake Forest wins ACC title game, secures Orange Bowl spot

Dec 2, 2006 - 9:46 PM JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Willie Idlette and Wake Forest will conclude their dream season in the Orange Bowl.

Idlette's 45-yard catch set up the go-ahead field goal and the senior receiver iced the game by picking up a first down on an end around as the 16th-ranked Demon Deacons won the Atlantic Coast Conference title with a 9-6 triumph over No. 23 Georgia Tech at rainy Alltel Stadium.

Not much was expected of Wake Forest (11-2) this season, but Jim Grobe's squad went 6-2 in ACC play to claim the Atlantic Division title. By virtue of winning their first ACC crown since 1970 with their triumph Saturday, the Demon Deacons claimed the conference's automatic BCS bowl berth, a spot in the Orange Bowl against an opponent to be determined Sunday.

"I can't even put it in words," said Wake Forest linebacker Jon Abbate, who had 15 tackles. "It's been an unbelievable season. Unbelievable to be ACC champs, and I can't explain it."

Grobe also appeared to be in disbelief that his team is Orange Bowl-bound.

"Music to my ears," Grobe said. "I don't know, I really can't respond. I'm so excited for this football team and our effort today. I'm so excited we came out on top."

The ACC Coastal champion Yellow Jackets (9-4) took a 6-3 lead on a 34-yard field goal by Travis Bell with 13:59 remaining.

Georgia Tech got the ball back less than two minutes later, but Reggie Ball was intercepted by cornerback Riley Swanson at the Wake Forest 32 on the first play of the possession. Swanson made the pick when former high school teammate Calvin Johnson could not corral the ball in the air.

A 39-yard catch-and-run by tight end John Tereshinski down the right sideline to the Georgia Tech 29 set up Sam Swank's tying 33-yard field goal with 8:27 left.

The Yellow Jackets punted five minutes later, and Idlette's big catch over the middle gave the Demon Deacons the ball at the 12 with 5:15 to play. Four plays later, Swank was true on a 22-yarder to give Wake Forest a 9-6 lead.

"I know I really definitely didn't come into this game thinking that I would be needed to kick the game-winning field goal because I thought our offense was highly talented," Swank said. "Things just didn't go our way sometimes, and I was happy to step in there and perform my role."

Georgia Tech, which was aiming for its first outright ACC crown since 1990, elected to punt with 2:13 remaining after losing three yards on three plays. The Yellow Jackets never got the ball back after Idlette's 19-yard run to his right on 3rd-and-2 with just over a minute to go.

"Obviously, it's my responsibility to get this football team ready to play, and we didn't do well enough today to win the ballgame," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said.

Wake redshirt freshman Riley Skinner completed 14-of-25 passes for 201 yards. Georgia Tech counterpart Ball was just 9-of-29 for 129 yards with two interceptions, with Johnson catching eight of his passes for 117 yards.

Led by Tashard Choice's 100 yards, the Yellow Jackets outrushed the Demon Deacons, 143-91, but held the ball for just 25:48.

Georgia Tech marched down the field on its opening drive and had 1st-and-goal at the 9 before settling for a 21-yard field goal by Bell.

Demon Deacons linebacker Aaron Curry intercepted Ball at the Wake Forest 14 just over four minutes into the second quarter, but Swank hooked a 45-yard field-goal attempt a few minutes later.

Wake Forest had a 1st-and-goal at the 10 later in the period but settled for a 19-yard field goal by Swank that tied the game at 3-3 entering the break.

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