Wake Forest defeats Syracuse 40-37 in OT on Perry TD

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A.T. Perry said he likely won’t sleep for a while and that’s understandable.

Perry had three touchdown receptions and his last, an acrobatic 22-yard catch in the left corner of the end zone, lifted No. 19 Wake Forest to a 40-37 overtime victory over Syracuse on Saturday.

“I knew I caught it,” said Perry, who also scored on pass plays covering 46 and 69 yards. “I just wanted to know if it was in bounds. After I caught it, I closed my eyes. I’ve looked forward my whole life to making a catch to win a game. I’m shaking. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

The triumph for Wake Forest (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) gave the Demon Deacons their first 6-0 start since 1944.

Perry’s winning catch came while he was falling backwards and spinning to the turf.

“I’m small and I can twist and torque my body,” he said.

The win was just another step in the right direction for the Demon Deacons, who are aiming high.

“Nothing is done yet. Our goal is to win lots of games and be in a big, final game,” said quarterback Sam Hartman, who accounted for four touchdowns. In addition to his three scores to Perry, Hartman ran it in from the 1 for another. He was 19 of 32 for 330 yards passing.

“We’re proud to get the win, but we have a lot more goals than 6-0,” coach Dave Clawson said.

The loss was the second straight heartbreaker for Syracuse (3-3, 0-2), which lost to Florida State 33-30 a week ago.

“One thing I’m really excited about is that we have a football team,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “I’m disappointed about the loss. When you think about the ways we’ve played the last three games, they’re playing together, they’re staying together. It was one of the deals where we wish we had come out of this with a positive, but we’re looking forward to what we can do going down the stretch.”

A 38-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt gave Syracuse a 37-34 lead on the first possession of overtime, but the Demon Deacons scored six plays later.

Sean Tucker scored on a 28-yard pass and run from Garrett Shrader with 21 seconds to go in regulation to cap a 94-yard drive and tie the game at 34 after the Demon Deacons had taken a 34-27 lead just three minutes earlier on a 10-yard run by Christian Beal-Smith.

Syracuse was planning to go for a 2-point conversion to win the game but was penalized for delay of game. Instead, Szmyt’s extra point merely tied the game at 34.

“The biggest thing is there wasn’t a sense of urgency about what was going on out on the football field,” Babers said.. “There were certain cats who were taking their time and we needed to speed that thing up. It was disappointing. I didn’t want it to go to overtime. We wanted to win the doggone game.”

The loss spoiled a game effort by the Orange, who racked up 354 yards rushing, all but 23 of the total from Shrader and Tucker and the most in an ACC game since 2014. And Syracuse was without two starters on the offensive line and a third lineman was injured during the game.

Tucker scored three touchdowns and gained 153 yards, his fourth consecutive game with more than 100 yards rushing. Shrader, 15 of 27 passing, accounted for 178 yards on the ground and 160 passing.

The Orange held a 21-10 lead with 6:49 to go in the second quarter, but a decision to accept a holding penalty on third down when declining would have set up a 51-yard field goal attempt by Sciba seemed to turn the momentum. Wake converted on third-and-23 and scored a touchdown to trim the halftime lead to 21-17, the first of 16 straight points.


Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons were challenged throughout but made plays when they had to to stay perfect on the season.

Syracuse: The running of Tucker and Shrader will allow the Orange to hang with ranked teams. Shrader is getting more comfortable in the offense and the defense will help keep Syracuse in most games.


Wake Forest should maintain its Top 25 ranking and maybe move up a bit.


The Orange opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Wake Forest 27 midway through the fourth quarter and Szymt missed from 45 yards. Syracuse lost at Florida State on a field goal as time expired.


Wake Forest has a bye week before traveling to West Point to play Army on Oct. 23.

Syracuse hosts Clemson on Friday night.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.


Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.


Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.


Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.


This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.


North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.


Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.