WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Tanner Price accounted for two touchdowns, redshirt freshman Jonathan Williams had 143 yards receiving and Wake Forest forced six turnovers in a season-opening 31-7 victory over Presbyterian on Thursday night.
Price was 14 of 25 for 219 yards, threw a 20-yard TD pass to Spencer Bishop and ran 3 yards for another score.
With their Atlantic Coast Conference opener coming next Friday night at Boston College, Wake Forest mostly kept things simple on offense while its defense forced three fumbles and picked off three passes.
Brandon Chubb returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown and redshirt freshman Josh Wilhite took his first career carry 21 yards for a late score.
Williams caught five passes and set a school record for receiving yardage by a freshman in his debut.
Tamyn Garrick was 9 of 15 for 36 yards with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kris Hurley for the Blue Hose.
They finished with 151 total yards, but 66 came on their first play — a dash by Demarcus Rouse that set up the TD pass.
Presbyterian only gained one more first down after that, and it didn’t come until the fourth quarter.
Price, Wake Forest’s fourth-year starter, has the green light on the ground for a change — he was a 1,000-yard rusher in high school. In this one, he rushed for a team-best 31 yards, mostly on option keepers.
But he also showed he still has his deep touch. And in reliable receiver Michael Campanaro’s absence — he was in uniform but sat out with a hamstring injury — Williams emerged as the top target of the night.
He caught three passes of 33 or more yards in the first half alone, with his 53-yard grab setting up Price’s short touchdown run that made it 17-7 with 3:18 left in the half.
That came two possessions after Price’s scoring pass to Bishop — a rare touchdown throw to a tight end — came 78 seconds into the second quarter, made it 10-7 and put Wake Forest ahead to stay.
Chubb effectively iced it less than 4 minutes into the second half when he pulled a Garrick pass out of the air and raced into the end zone to put the Demon Deacons up 24-7.
Presbyterian, which entered 0-5 against FBS teams and had never held one to fewer than 53 points, threw a scare into the late-arriving crowd when Rouse took off on the Blue Hose’s first play and raced down the left sideline to the Wake Forest 4.
Garrick made it 7-0 when he hit Hurley three plays later for Presbyterian’s first offensive touchdown against an FBS opponent since 2010.
Chad Hedlund kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2:16 left in the first quarter to pull Wake Forest to 7-3.
Play was held up for nine minutes between the first and second quarters after the banks of lights lost power.