WINSTON-SALEM N.C. -- Wake Forest recorded its sixth win of the year and became bowl eligible for the first time in five seasons with a 27-20 win over Virginia on Saturday afternoon. The Demon Deacons got a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown from Jessie Bates to give them the deciding score of the game late in the fourth quarter in the seven-point win.
Wake Forest (6-3 3-2 ACC) quarterback John Walford threw the ball just 10 times but ran for 94 yards and a touchdown to pace the Demon Deacons. Virginia (2-7 1-4) tallied just 295 yards as quarterback Kurt Benkert struggled under center throwing two interceptions. Running back Taquan Mizzell was the lone bright spot for the Cavaliers as he racked up 159 total yards and a touchdown.
Wake Forest controlled the first half as it outgained Virginia 230-134 and took a 17-6 lead into the halftime break. After the Cavaliers marched 75 yards on their opening drive to take a 6-0 lead the Demon Deacons responded with 17 unanswered points using a potent ground attack to rack up 167 rushing yards during the first 30 minutes. Wolford ran for 71 yards in the first half which included a 64-yard touchdown scamper to give Wake Forest a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter.
Virginia struggled on offense after its opening scoring drive managing just 59 yards over the remaining 26 minutes of the first half. Mizzell ran for 62 yards in the half while Benkert completed just 6 of 15 passes for 34 yards.