Wake Forest finds running game, defeats Vanderbilt

Wake Forest finds running game, defeats Vanderbilt

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Sep 9, 2023; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores running back Patrick Smith (4) is tackled by Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive lineman Jasheen Davis (30) during the first quarter at Allegacy Federal Credit Union Stadium.
Image: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Running backs Demond Claiborne and Tate Carney each ran for over 100 yards and Wake Forest earned a 36-20 victory over visiting Vanderbilt on Saturday at Winston-Salem, N.C., following a lengthy weather delay.

Claiborne gained 165 yards on 26 carries and Tate Carney had 117 yards on 13 rushes to rejuvenate a Wake Forest rushing attack that had 98 yards on the ground in a victory last week against Elon and 2.8 yards per carry.

Wake Forest quarterback Mitch Griffis was 17 of 26 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

Vanderbilt quarterback AJ Swann was 26-of-39 passing for 314 yards and two TDs, but also two interceptions. Vandy wide receiver Will Sheppard had eight catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns but fumbled a punt.

Vandy turned it over two more times on downs, including one at the Wake 1.

Wake’s Matthew Dennis converted a 44-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half to extend the Demon Deacons’ lead to 27-14.

Vanderbilt then drove 74 yards to the Wake Forest 1-yard line but were stopped on three straight running plays to force a turnover on downs.

The Deacons’ Griffis hit Ke’Shawn Williams with a 24-yard score with 11:19 to play for a 33-14 lead.

Wake Forest held a 211-210 edge in total yards at the half, yet still led 24-14 thanks to a 2-0 edge in turnovers.

The first was Swann’s interception on the game’s third snap, which was returned 50 yards by Malik Mustpaha to the Vandy 10. That set up Dennis’ 25-yard field goal.

Swann threw another pick, this one to DeSean Jones with 15 seconds left in the half, though Dennis pushed a 44-yarder right on the half’s last play and the Deacons couldn’t extend the lead.

In between, Wake scored on drives of 75 and 80 yards, those finished by a 1-yard Carney run and Jahmal Banks’s 7-yard TD grab.

Vandy’s Swann found Sheppard for first-half scoring strikes of 10 and 11 yards.

The game was paused for two hours due to lightning.

—Field Level Media

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.