Defense leads Syracuse over Wake Forest 30-7

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Syracuse turned to its defense to snap a four-game winning streak.

The Orange scored two defensive touchdowns, and freshman quarterback AJ Long ran for another TD as the Orange defeated Wake Forest 30-7 on Saturday.

Robert Welsh returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown and Micah Robinson scored on a 51-yard fumble return to give Syracuse its first win since Sept. 13 when they beat Eastern Michigan.

The Orange (3-4, 1-2 ACC) knocked out Wake Forest starting quarterback John Wolford in the second quarter, rendering the Demon Deacons already struggling offense even more ineffective. His replacement Tyler Cameron was benched in the fourth quarter.

Syracuse limited Wake Forest to 68 total yards after Wolford left the game, while outgaining the Demon Deacons 370-170.

Long completed 22 of 32 passes for 171 yards and had a 4-yard touchdown run in his second start, while Devante McFarlane ran for 114 yards on 10 carries.

The game turned late in the second when blitzing Syracuse linebacker Dyshawn Davis crashed into Wolford from behind as he rolled out and set up to throw, jarring the freshman quarterback’s upper body and altering the trajectory the ball. Welsh easily intercepted the floating pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown giving Syracuse a 17-7 lead.

Wolford left the game with a head injury and did not return. He spent the second half on the sideline in street clothes with what the team called a ”suspected concussion.” Cameron was 6 of 8 for 27 yards.

Syracuse stretched its lead to 27-7 early in the third quarter when cornerback Brandon Reddish sacked and stripped Cameron of the ball and the loose ball bounced up into the arms of Robinson, who raced untouched to the end zone.

Both teams were coming off losses to No. 2 Florida State – the Demon Deacons losing 43-3 to the Seminoles two weeks ago and the Orange falling 38-20 last weekend.

Wake Forest came in ranked last in the nation in rushing at 31 yards per game and were limited to 71 yards on 36 attempts, less than 2 yards per carry.

It looked early on like the Demon Deacons were ready to break out on their offensive funk as Wolford led the Demon Deacons on a 91-yard touchdown drive, capping it with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Cam Serigne for a 7-0 lead. However, Syracuse’s defense stiffened after that and controlled the line of scrimmage, not allowing the Demon Deacons a chance at a sustained drive.

The Orange rallied for 30 straight points, starting with Long’s TD run to put them up 10-7 with 7:50 left in the second quarter. Syracuse got three field goals from Cole Murphy.