BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Wake Forest could’ve given up several times Saturday.
The Demon Deacons' 37-34 win against Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl looked for like a nightmare than a triumphant win at times.
An early double-digit Memphis lead and last-minute score by the Tigers looked to be too much for Wake Forest, but that wasn’t the case Saturday.
Wake overcame a 28-10 deficit early in the second quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns by Jamie Newman before the half and a pair of field goals by Nick Sciba in the third quarter.
As the scoring slowed in the fourth quarter with the Demon Deacons leading 30-28, the final few minutes of the game left fans at Legion Field on the edge of their seats.
With 1:15 minutes left in the game, Memphis regained the lead on a 14-play, 88-yard drive that ended on a 9-yard Patrick Taylor touchdown run.
It appeared the Tigers had won a thriller, leading 34-30. But, like in the first half, Wake Forest had an answer.
The Demon Deacons traveled 75 yards in six plays and 41 seconds to regain the lead on a 1-yard run by Newman. Then it was Memphis' turn again.
The Tigers worked themselves into having a chance to tie - or even win. Darren Ford returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tigers 39-yard line. Brady White completed a 44-yard pass to Joey Magnifico on the following play, placing the ball on the Wake Forecast 17 with 19 seconds left.
After several failed attempts to find the end zone, Memphis sent Riley Patterson out for the game-tying field goal with 4 seconds left. Wake took a timeout on the first attempt, which Patterson made. The following play included a false start penalty, pushing Patterson’s attempt back to 43 yards, though Patterson’s kick was good.
On the third attempt, Patterson pushed the kick right of the upright, clinching the win for Wake Forest.
The Wake Forest win marks their third consecutive bowl win in as many years. The 3-point differential is also the third consecutive Birmingham Bowl decided by one score.
Newman threw for 328 yards on 22 of 44 passing and added 91 rushing yards. He had four total touchdowns. Memphis was led by White, who threw for 171 yards on 15 of 27 passing. He added 110 rushing yards, totaling two touchdowns. The teams combined for 909 total yards of offense (531 by Wake, 378 by Memphis).
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH FINAL
MEMPHIS 14 14 0 6 34
WAKE FOREST 7 17 6 7 37