Josh Banks returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown to give Wake Forest football an early lead, but Utah State scored 29 straight points en route to a 36-24 victory over the Demon Deacons at Romney Stadium on Saturday night.
On Utah State's first drive, the Deacs (1-2) forced pressure up the middle, forcing Utah State (2-1) quarterback Chuckie Keaton to throw off balance. The ball fell right into the arms of Banks, who returned his first-career interception 70 yards for a touchdown.
Utah State closed out the half by scoring 29 straight points, 20 of them off Wake Forest turnovers, which Wake Forest was unable to completely recover from.
Ryan Janvion led the Wake Forest defense with a career-high 18 tackles, while Brandon Chubb added 12. The Demon Deacon defense totaled 11 tackles for loss, led by Marquel Lee's 2.5.
After the Wake Forest score, a John Wolford pass was intercepted and returned 35 yards by Zack Vigil to even the score at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
The Aggies capped off a five-play, 67-yard drive in the second quarter with a 44-yard reverse pass from Ronald Butler, a wide receiver, to JoJo Natson. Utah State's PAT attempt hit off the post.
On the ensuing drive, Wolford's arm and the ball appeared to be moving forward on a pass attempt. It was ruled a fumble on the field, which Devin Centers returned 47 yards for a touchdown, and the call was upheld after a review. Tylor Harris blocked the extra-point attempt, as the Aggies led 19-7.
After another interception, USU made it 26-7 when Keaton found Jefferso Court in the endzone for a six-yard touchdown, and the Aggies tacked on three more points with a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
The Deacons rebounded immediately after the break. Hunter Williams intercepting substitute quarterback Darell Garretson in Utah State territory.
Isaiah Robinson scored his first career touchdown on a three-yard Wolford pass, cutting the margin to 29-14 less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Wake Forest made it a one-score game on its next drive, as Wolford capped off a 78-yard drive with a 10-yard pass to E.J. Scott for his third touchdown reception of the season.
The Aggies again responded; Garretson found Wyatt Houston for a five-yard pass-and-catch, pushing the USU advantage to 36-21.
Mike Weaver chipped in a 30-yard field goal late in the third quarter to move to a perfect 5-for-5 this season.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter; Wake Forest turned the ball over on downs twice and punted twice.
Wolford finished with 257 yards passing, completing 20-of-50 attempts with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Cam Serigne notched career-highs of seven receptions and 91 receiving yards to lead the Deacon offense. Wake Forest finished with negative rushing yards for the second time this season, but that was in large part due to six Utah State sacks for negative-39 yards.
• Out of the 56 times Wolford looked to pass, Utah State was credited with either a sack or quarterback hurry on 24 of them. Contrastingly, Utah State's passers were sacked or hurried just five times on 46 dropbacks.
FIRST TIME SINCE...
• Ryan Janvion's 18 tackles marked just the second time Wake Forest reached that milestone in more than a decade. Before Brandon Chubb did it in the season-opener, the last Deac to surpass that total was Brad White, who totaled 24 versus Navy in 2002.
• Wake Forest earned a return for a touchdown for the first time since Justin Jackson did so in the 2013 season finale.
• Senior Jordan Garside received his first career carry. It went for no gain.
FIRST FIRST-HALF WOES
• Wake Forest allowed first-half points for the first time this season. After allowing zero the first two games, the Deacs conceded 29 to Utah State.
• Wake Forest's points tonight came at the highest elevation in program history.
• The only time the Deacs have played at a higher elevation than in Logan, Utah, was a game at Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado), in which the Deacs were shut out.
• Several Deacons have had impressive starts to their careers in Old Gold and Black, including E.J. Scott, Cam Serigne and Mike Weaver.
• Scott has recorded three touchdown catches in as many games at Wake Forest.
• Over his last two games, Serigne has made 12 catches for 154 yards.
• By starting 5-for-5 in field goals, Weaver is one field goal away from tying Tracy Lounsbury's 1969 record in which he made the first six of his career.
• Wake Forest returns to Winston-Salem, playing host to Army in the final nonconference game on Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m.