Demon Deacons hold off Army on late field goal

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Kendall Hinton was ready for his big chance and he delivered.

Pressed into action when Wake Forest starter John Wolford was hurt early in the game, the freshman quarterback scored on runs of 15 and 7 yards in the second half and Mike Weaver kicked a 47-yard field goal into the wind as time expired, rallying the Demon Deacons past Army 17-14 on Saturday.

“This whole week we’ve been preparing — you never know what’s going to happen,” said Hinton, who had 101 yards rushing on 17 carries and passed for 159. “It’s a new experience for me. Guys encouraged me, helped me get comfortable.”

Wake Forest (2-1) overcame three interceptions, two by Hinton, to win its ninth straight in the series with Army (0-3). Last year, Wake Forest rallied for a late touchdown and then forced an Army fumble in a 24-21 victory at home. The Deacons hadn’t won on the road since beating Army at Michie Stadium in 2013, a span of 11 straight setbacks.

“It’s a good win,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “I don’t think it was the prettiest performance, but we have a young team on the road, lost our starting quarterback in the first quarter, turned it over three times and gave them 14 points off turnovers, and still found a way to win.”

The Deacons won it after Hinton drove them from their own 7 into field-goal range. After Wake Forest failed to convert any of its five third-down tries in the first half, Hinton converted 6 of 9 in the second. His 13-yard scramble on a third-and-9 play kept the game-winning drive going, and he hit Cortez Lewis for 8 yards on third down to set up the winning kick.

Still, it wasn’t easy. The snap was bad and a stiff breeze was blowing.

“The wind was blowing pretty hard in my face,” Weaver said. “I was worried about that.”

Hinton also torched the Black Knights with a pair of clutch, long throws. His 51-yard completion to KJ Brent set up Hinton’s tying touchdown late in the third quarter, and his 28-yarder to Lewis on a third-and-7 play early in the fourth set up Hinton’s second score.

Hinton’s heroics were quickly undone by a costly interception by Army freshman Brandon Jackson, who picked off an errant pass near midfield and returned it 43 yards down the right sideline. Christian Drake scored on a 9-yard run on the next play to knot the score at 14-14 midway through the fourth period.

Jackson made his second pick after the Deacons drove to midfield later in the quarter, but the Black Knights couldn’t capitalize and now are staring at three losses by a combined 10 points.

“It’s devastating, but it’s promising at the same time,” said Army linebacker Jeremy Timpf, whose second-quarter interception of Wolford set up the only touchdown of the opening half. “Obviously, we’re a little upset, but we’ve seen some great things from the defense and I think we’re getting better. I’m excited to see where we’re headed.”

Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown and passed for 54 yards to lead Army. But Army’s option finished with only 186 yards rushing on 54 attempts, well below its 5.8-yards-per-carry average.

Army’s Daniel Grochowski missed a 39-yard field goal attempt with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter.

Wolford had a terrific first half in a loss last week at Syracuse and threw for a career-high 373 yards. In two games, he was 50 of 72 passing for 696 yards with four TDs and three interceptions and had run for two scores.

Against the fired-up Army defense, Wolford injured his left ankle on the fourth play from scrimmage and limped off the field. Although he missed only one offensive series, he was not the same quarterback when he returned and was replaced for good by Hinton after the pick. Wolford was 3 of 5 for 16 yards.

X-rays on Wolford were negative, but Clawson said it was too early to tell about his status for next week’s game against Indiana.