Tech inches past Wake

On Saturday Oct. 2, Tech went on the road to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Both teams were looking to rebound after big conference losses the previous week as Tech had lost to N.C. State by 17 points and Wake had lost to Florida State by 31. Tech came from behind in a low-scoring game to win 24-20.

Wake Forest got the ball first and was stopped in a quick three-and-out filled with penalties. The Jackets got the ball with a short field and after moving the ball a few yards, scored on a 47-yard field goal by senior kicker Scott Blair. The field goal was Blair’s longest of the season.

After both teams exchanged punts, and Wake quarterback Ted Stachitas was injured, Demon Deacons’ backup quarterback Brendan Cross led his team on a 77-yard drive in six plays, ending in a 20-yard field goal. Tech got the ball with just under four minutes left in the first quarter and after driving into Wake territory, could not convert a fourth-and-one.

Wake, however, would not capitalize on the turnover on downs, and three more punts were exchanged between teams until freshman A-back B.J. Bostic fumbled the ball and Wake defender Tristan Dorty recovered it.

Wake’s backup quarterback Cross suffered an injury on a previous drive, forcing Wake to look to its third string quarterback Skylar Jones to take the reins. Following the fumble recovery, Jones led the Demon Deacons 57 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown. Tech only had 1:22 left on the clock before the half and needed some more points on the board before the half.

Facing a long third down, senior quarterback Joshua Nesbitt completed a 38-yard screen pass to redshirt junior B-back Preston Lyons. With time running down on the clock, Blair and the kicking team were brought onto the field and made a 45-yard field goal attempt to cut the score to 10-6 at the half.

The second half continued the more defensive trend from the first half, beginning with four exchanged punts. After the last one, redshirt junior safety Jerrard Terrant attempted to return a punt and fumbled the ball. Wake recovered 19 yards away from the end zone and punched the ball in for its second touchdown of the night and a 17-6 lead.

The score remained the same going into the fourth quarter, and Tech had possession when the offense adjusted and began moving the ball down field. Nesbitt led the team down the field to give Blair a chance at his third field goal of the night. Blair continued his perfect night, splitting the uprights with a 42-yard field goal.

The Jackets defense then kept the team in the game by forcing another three-and-out. The offense, needing a touchdown, put the goal within reach with a 30-yard rush by redshirt senior B-back Anthony Allen. After a few more plays, Tech faced a long fourth down situation. Nesbitt was scrambling away from heavy pressure when he found junior A-back Embry Peeples in the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Down 17-15, Tech needed a two-point conversion to tie the game up. On the ensuing attempt, Nesbitt tucked the ball and ran the ball to tie the game up 17-17. Wake, however, was looking to win the game, and responded by driving the ball 55-yards to score a 26-yard field goal. Wake kicked the ball off to Tech with only 2:21 left on the clock and a three-point lead.

Down three with only minutes left on the clock, Tech was in a do-or-die situation of needing a score even though there was little time left. Nesbitt led his offense down the field, converting a crucial fourth down with a 16-yard carry. Then, with the clock winding down, Nesbitt completed six of his eight passes on the final 69-yard drive, capping it off with a dramatic nine-yard touchdown catch by redshirt senior wide receiver Correy Earls. Tech finally retook the lead with only 15 seconds left on the clock.

Nesbitt finished the day completing over 50 percent of his passes for 130 yards and 72 rushing yards. The win brings Tech to 3-2 on the season and 2-1 in the ACC.