Syracuse beats Wake Forest in overtime 39-30

Syracuse beats Wake Forest in OT

Orange close out an underwhelming regular season with a thrilling takeaway for its final play.
Published: November 30, 2019
Syracuse Football
Syracuse's Trill Williams runs for a touchdown in overtime to beat Wake Forest 39-30.

The Orange put its boot to the visiting teams throat in the first half, going up by as many as 14 points in the first two stanzas.

Clayton Welch hit tight end Luke Wilson at 13:18 for a 29-yard pass to put the Orange up 17-3. It was his second touchdown pass of the day. He hit Trishton Jackson for a 12-yard pass in the first quarter to give the team its first touchdown on the day. Kicker Andrew Szmyt nailed a pair of extra points, as well as a Syracuse field goal from 24 yards out to make it a 10-7 game.

Syracuse (4-7) entered the game a 3.5-1 underdog to the Demon Deacons (8-3) and are looking to bounce back from a 56-34 drubbing at the hands of Louisville.

Syracuse Football
Syracuse wide receiver Trishton Jackson, left, jumps for joy after his touchdown against Wake Forest with wide receiver Taj Harris at the Carrier Dome.

Defensively, Syracuse proved itself. They limited the usually explosive Demon Deacons to just three points in the first 30 minutes. Sophomore defensive back Andre Cisco had quite the first quarter, recording a fumble recovery and an interception. Sophomore Ifeatu Melifonwu and senior Chris Fredrick each had an interception of their own in the second quarter.

Wake Forest, to its credit, put a spirited drive together towards the end of the half. After receiving favorable field position after a dead ball foul, the Demon Deacons marched from Syracuse’s 44-yard line down to the 7-yard line. Syracuse’s defense once again came up big, thanks to an interception courtesy of Syracuse’s Melifonwu in the end zone.

Second Half

Wake Forest started the second half strong. In just 1:49, the Demon Deacons marched down the field and put up its first touchdown of the day. Cade Carney cut through the Syracuse defense on the final play of the drive, running it in for a 17-yard touchdown.

In the ensuing drive, Syracuse began at its own 32-yard line, and Welch picked up about 18 yards on a draw play. A personal foul at the end of the play resulted in Syracuse advancing to the Wake Forest 38-yard line, and Tommy DeVito took over the action from there. From there, a series of run plays set up a DeVito pass to Nykeim Johnson resulted in a first down at the 2-yard line.

Four plays later, with Szmyt once again put a field goal through the uprights. Syracuse now led 20-13 with 5:57 to go in the third quarter.

Wake Forest 24 touchdown 75-yard pass

Wake Forest wasted no time in getting more points back on the board. Wide receiver Donovan Green picked up a 75-yard pass down the left hash marks on the very first play of the drive, leading to a 20-20 game at 5:45 of the quarter.


Syracuse Football
Syracuse wide receiver Taj Harris (80) avoids Wake Forest defensive back Zion Keith, left, and defensive back Ja'Sir Taylor.

Both teams held each other scoreless in ensuing drives, and when Syracuse finally resumed control of the ball, it began a march from within its own red zone with less than two minutes to go in the quarter. Syracuse found itself at a third and 13, but a shovel pass from Welch to Moe Neal provided a first down and then some, putting the line of scrimmage on its own 37-yard line.

Jarveon Howard put together a pair of strong runs for the Orange, but fumbling on the third play of the quarter led to Wake Forest taking control of the action once again. After a stop on the Syracuse 30-yard line, Wake Forest kicker Nick Sciba missed his first field goal of the season at 10:40 of the fourth quarter.


Syracuse Football Forced Fumble
Syracuse linebacker Lakiem Williams (46) forces a fumble on Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman.

Syracuse made a measured march towards the goal line. Consistent run plays from Neal and timely catches from Jackson and Taj Harris moved the ball down to the 31-yard line. Andre Szmyt was brought out with 44 seconds left, and he drilled a 49-yard field goal straight through the uprights to put the Orange on top 30-27.

With the seconds winding down, Wake Forest completed a pair of passes to the right side, and a quick pass down the middle moved things to Syracuse’s 46-yard line. An incomplete pass stopped the clock at 19 seconds. With 13 seconds left they were eon the 35. With eight seconds, the 29-yard line. With four seconds, the 25-yard line. Wake Forest was making moves. And as time expired on regulation, Sciba tied the game up 30-30 to bring Wake Forest into overtime with Syracuse.


Syracuse Football
Syracuse's Taj Harris runs with the ball in the 39-30 win over Wake Forest.

Trishton Jackson came up big in Syracuse’s first major drive of the fourth quarter, catching a pair of passes from Welch to set the Orange up on the 13-yard line. With the second reception, Jackson is now the sixth player in school history to pass 1,000 yards.

Moe Neal sealed the deal on the next play, punching it up the middle for the 13-yard touchdown run at 8:29 of the fourth quarter to put the Orange up 26-20. Szmyt’s extra point made it 27-20.

Wake Forest would not go gentle into that good night. They marched the ball down the field and with 5:39 found themselves on the Orange eight-yard line. A little more than a minute later, it was fourth and two and the Demon Deacons converted. A two-yard pass from Hartman to Kendall Hinton evened things back up at 27-27 with 4:07 to go in the quarter.


Syracuse Football
Syracuse players congratulate teammates Luke Benson on a touchdown.


With Wake Forest winning the toss and electing to go on defense first, Syracuse settled for a 40-yard field goal to go up 33-30.

Wake Forest took over on offense and made its way to the 10-yard line. Syracuse’s defense came up big for one final takeaway. Hartman found his man, but sophomore defensive back Trill Williams stripped the receiver and ran the ball back 95 yards to the opposite end zone to make the score final at 39-30. Syracuse (5-7), in emphatic fashion, ends the season with a victory. Wake Forest falls to 8-4 on the year.


Syracuse Football
Seniors Andrejas Duerig and Clayton Welch thank the fans after Saturday's game in the Carrier Dome.