With an off-field controversy seemingly behind them, Wake Forest came into Tuesday afternoon looking for its first postseason win since 2008. After two quarters of play, they’re 30 minutes away from ending that nearly decade-long drought.
Thanks in very large part to a stifling defense, Wake jumped out to a 14-7 first-quarter lead on Temple in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrup Grumman and extended it even further in the second to take a 31-10 advantage into the halftime locker room. How stifling was the Demon Deacon defense? The Owls scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage. The remainder of the half, the Owls managed 89 yards of total offense.
Wake’s run defense was particularly effective, holding Temple to just 14 yards on 15 carries, with 23 of those yards coming on a late carry by Jahad Thomas. The Owls entered today’s game fourth in the AAC and 51st nationally in averaging just over 191 yards per game on the ground.
John Wolford nearly accounted for a majority of the offense for both teams, passing for 183 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns in helping the Demon Deacons grab a solid first-half lead. Temple’s offense (137) and Wake’s rushing offense (80) accounted for a combined 217 yards as, aside from Wolford’s performance, it was a decidedly defensive first two quarters of play.
The Owls are currently riding a seven-game winning streak, which included a win in the AAC championship game. That proved to be Matt Rhule‘s last game as the head coach as he left for the Baylor job and is not coaching this postseason contest.
The Demon Deacons, meanwhile, had lost two of their las eight after winning four straight to start the 2016 season.