John Wolford and E.J. Scott connected for two touchdowns as Wake Forest defeated Gardner-Webb 23-7 in the Demon Deacons' 2014 home opener at BB&T Field on Saturday night.
Wolford had a standout day for the Deacons as he went 30-for-38 for 291 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 29 yards. Scott finished with four catches for 62 yards with the two touchdown catches to lead all receivers.
The win is not only the first of the year for Wake Forest, but also the first of the Dave Clawson era, as he improves to 1-1 at the helm of the Deacon football program.
The Demon Deacons gained 387 yards of total offense, while the defense limited Gardner-Webb (0-2) to 131 yards. Wake Forest held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard until the Runnin' Bulldogs scored a touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game.
Wolford, a true freshman making his second career start, threw for his first career touchdown five minutes into the third quarter, finding Scott, a graduate transfer, from 10 yards out. The touchdown was also the first of Scott's Wake Forest career as the Deacs moved ahead 16-0.
Mike Weaver remained perfect in the kicking game, connecting on a trio of first-half field goals. He hit from 27 yards in the first quarter, also splitting the uprights on 37-yard and 28-yard attempts in the second quarter.
Wolford connected with Scott again on a 14-yard throw-and-catch three minutes into the fourth quarter, increasing the margin to 23-0. Gardner-Webb scored with 16 seconds left in the game as quarterback Tyrell Maxwell rushed for a five-yard touchdown.
Senior cornerback Merrill Noel picked off his sixth career pass midway through the first quarter, while junior linebacker Brandon Chubb forced his second fumble in as many weeks. Chubb, sophomore linebacker Marquel Lee, sophomore defensive lineman Sheldon Lewinson, sophomore safety Thomas Brown and sophomore defensive lineman Josh Banks each had sacks for Wake Forest.
Eight different Deacons recorded a catch, with sophomore Jared Crump (6 for 59 yards), freshman Cam Serigne (5 for 62 yards) and senior Matt James (5 for 60 yards) finishing with at least five receptions apiece.
Wake Forest controlled the time of possession, keeping the ball for 32:41. Additionally, the defense held the Bulldogs to just 2-for-12 on third-downs.
Chad Geter, Azziz Higgins and Kenyatta Dunbar had interceptions for the Gardner-Webb defense. All were either dropped by a receiver or tipped.
Wake Forest returns to action next Saturday when the Demon Deacons travel to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and the Wake Forest IMG Radio Network.