Wake Forest is looking to snap the ACC’s losing ways in the Pinstripe Bowl. Heading to the top of the third in Yankee Stadium, Wake Forest leads the Big Ten’s Michigan State 21-20.
Michigan State’s first touchdown of the game actually came on defense, with defensive lineman Mike Panasiuk picking off a pass tipped at the line and returning it 14 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter. Panasiuk was flagged for a celebration penalty when he took his helmet off in the end zone, but that was a moment the big guy will cherish for as long as he lives.
Wake Forest and Michigan State exchanged touchdowns in the second quarter with big plays through the air. Wake Forest took advantage of a short field following a long Michigan State punt with Jamie Newman completing a 16-yard pass to Donavon Greene to reclaim the lead, 14-10. The Spartans answered with a quick three-play drive fueled by a 64-yard pass from Brian Lewerke to Trenton Gillison to set up a Lewerke 8-yard touchdown run.
Wake Forest retook the lead on the ensuing possession with a 44-yard pass from Newman to Jack Freudenthal. The Spartans added a field goal in the final minute of the half to bring the Spartans within one point of the Demon Deacons.
WHO: Michigan State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
WHAT: The 10th New Era Pinstripe Bowl
WHEN: December 27th at 3:20 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York
THE SKINNY: Michigan State and Wake Forest will meet for the first time when they step onto the field at Yankee Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The ACC-Big Ten matchup sees two programs that arrive in the postseason under much different circumstances. Wake Forest is looking to win nine games for the first time since 2007 as Dave Clawson has the Demon Deacons continuing to take steps forward as a program. Meanwhile, Mark Dantonio has Michigan State back in a bowl game for the 11th time in his 12-year run as head coach of the Spartans, although this year Michigan State slid their way to postseason eligibility by having to defeat Maryland at home in the final game of the season.
Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke hasn’t exactly had a banner season in East Lansing. He leads a struggling Michigan State offense with 16 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions, but hopes to end his collegiate career on a high note. Lewerke has been roughed up at times this season but will get to start the final game of his career. How long he remains the quarterback for Michigan State remains to be seen as Dantonio has said he will not shy away from playing sophomore Rocky Lombardi if a change of pace is necessary. A jolt on offense is always welcome for Michigan State as the Spartans rank 101st in the nation in total offense. Fortunately, the defense helps keep games from getting too out of hand most of the time, and that could be the case here.
Clawson is all about improving the offensive structure, and that is just what has been done with Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons come into the bowl season ranked 12th in the nation in total offense with 474.4 yards per game. But they will also be banged up for the game with leading wide receiver Sage Surratt out due to season-ending shoulder surgery. That will likely make Kendall Hinton a go-to option for Wake Forest. Hinton may be lacking in touchdowns (3) but he is certainly going to rack up yardage (70 receptions for 953 yards). Wake Forest’s quarterback situation will also be something to watch with starter Jamie Newman banged up and Sam Hartman preparing to go if needed.
Although Wake Forest’s offense will be tested physically by the Spartans, there may be enough scoring drives in them to edge Michigan State in the Bronx.
THE PICK: Wake Forest 20, Michigan State 17
For the first time in over a decade, No. 24 Wake Forest is 7-1. And if all goes as they hope, Wake Forest could be returning to a New Years Six bowl game for the first time since that 2007 season.
Wake Forest (7-1, 3-1 ACC) had no problem taking care of NC State (4-4, 1-3 ACC) on Saturday afternoon. The Demon Deacons jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and went on to polish off a 44-10 victory by shutting out the Wolfpack in the second half. Jamie Newman had a big day with 287 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns. Jack Freudenthal was on the receiving end of all three touchdown passes, and Kendall Hinton led all players with 97 receiving yards while Sage Surratt caught a game-high nine passes. The Wake Forest passing offense averaged seven yards per attempt, which was more than double the average of a woeful NC State passing attack. Devin Leary managed to complete just 17 of his 45 pass attempts for 149 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions on the day.
NC State had three turnovers in the game and Wake Forest capitalize don them. Wake Forest scored 17 points off those turnovers, including an early fumble on a kickoff return to setup a quick touchdown after already owning a 7-0 lead.
Now with wins against NC State and UNC (in a non-conference matchup), Wake Forest has a chance to sweep the in-state competition just as they did in 2007. All that is left to pull off is a win at home against Duke on Nov. 23. But for now, Wake Forest has other business to attend to. A road trip to Virginia Tech is up next for Dave Clawson and his program next week. A trip to Blacksburg can never be taken lightly, especially with Virginia Tech potentially getting better as the season progresses. After that is a big division showdown at Clemson. Regardless of what happens against Clemson, Wake Forest is beginning to look like a team that could be representing the ACC in the New Years Six bowl.
the last time Wake Forest played in a big bowl game was after winning the ACC championship in 2007. Winning the ACC this year would require getting around Clemson, which may prove to be difficult in a few weeks, but it is becoming more and more clear that Wake Forest is the second-best team in the ACC.
NC State may not be thinking about an elusive conference championship, but the Wolfpack still have a chance to go bowling. But next week will be no easier for the Wolfpack. NC State visits Clemson next week for a primetime matchup.
It did not take long for Wake Forest to establish some in-state dominance over NC State. The Demon Deacons jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and lead their in-state rivals from Raleigh 34-10 at halftime in Winston-Salem.
Wake Forest scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession of the game with a 20-yard run by Jamie Newman midway through the first quarter. After NC State fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Wake Forest took over on the three-yard line and Newman tossed a short pass to Jack Friedenthal two plays later for a quick 14-0 lead.
The rough start to the game continued for NC State with Devin Leary having a pass intercepted by Amari Henderson, giving the ball right back to Wake Forest at their 26-yard line. That gave the home team another opportunity for a long touchdown drive, with Newman once again doing the honors at the end of a 74-yard drive.
After being forced to punt on their next couple of trips out and falling behind 24-0 after a Wake Forest field goal, NC State finally got something working on offense. Leary capped a 75-yard drive with a short pass to Cary Angeline to get the Wolfpack on the board. But Wake Forest marched right down the field with an answer. Newman once again connected with Freudenthal for a short touchdown pass from the two-yard line.
Wake Forest is looking to be in great shape to get to 7-1, which would match Wake Forest’s win total from 2018 (7-6). A 7-1 start would be the best for Wake Forest since 2006. Wake Forest went 9-1 before suffering its second loss that year, which ended with an ACC Championship Game victory and a loss in the Orange Bowl to Big East champion Louisville. Don’t look now, but Wake Forest may be flirting with another trip to a New Years Six bowl game this season if this keeps up.
Another starting quarterback position in the ACC is settled. Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson will continue to put the ball in the hands of Jamie Newman when the 2019 season begins next week for the Demon Deacons. Clawson made the announcement Sunday after practice.
“We made a decision today that Jamie Newman is going to be the starting quarterback,” Clawson said, according to Demon Deacon Digest. “That’s the direction we’re going with it moving forward. They both played well. There’s the old adage that if you have two, you have none. In the case of Wake Forest in 2019, we really do have two good quarterbacks.”
Newman got into a comfort zone leading the Wake Forest offense in the second half of last season when he started the final four games of the year in place of an injured Sam Hartman. He ended the season with 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions in six appearances. The bulk of that production came in the final month of the season.
As a freshman, Hartman appeared in nine games for Wake Forest last season, in which he passed for 1,984 yards and 19 touchdowns with eight interceptions.