Dec. 2, 2006
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Riley Skinner completed two long passes in his homecoming, just enough to give Wake Forest its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 36 years and send the Demon Deacons to their biggest bowl game in school history.
Skinner threw for 201 yards, Sam Swank kicked three short field goals and No. 16 Wake Forest beat 23rd-ranked Georgia Tech 9-6 in the ACC title game on a soggy Saturday.
The Demon Deacons (11-2) won their second league title and first since 1970, adding another chapter to an improbable season under sixth-year coach Jim Grobe. But Wake Forest has another game to play. A big one, too.
Skinner, who grew up in Jacksonville, will be going to the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2 – the program’s biggest bowl game since the 1946 Gator Bowl.
Skinner struggled most of the game and was sacked four times, but he came up big when the Demon Deacons needed it most.
He hooked up with John Tereshinski for a 39-yard gain on third-and-10, setting up Swank’s second field goal, a 33-yarder with 8:27 to play. The kick tied the game at 6.
On the ensuing possession, Skinner found Willie Idlette down the middle for a 45-yard gain, setting up a 22-yarder that turned out to be the game-winner.
Skinner finished 14-for-25. Kenneth Moore ran 16 times for 38 yards, but left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle.
Georgia Tech (9-4) had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but was forced to punt. Wake Forest picked up a first down and ran out the clock.
“Obviously, it’s my responsibility to get this football team ready to play and we didn’t do well enough today to win the game,” head coach Chan Gailey said.
Tech quarterback Reggie Ball was 9-of-29 passing for 129 yards, with two interceptions. He also ran 15 times for 46 yards. His best plays were three deep passes down the sideline that resulted in pass interference penalties.
Tashard Choice ran 21 times for 100 yards, his fifth straight 100-yard effort, and Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 117 yards. But Johnson also had two key drops. The second one came on a deep pass that he tipped into the hands of Riley Swanson for an interception. Skinner completed his first deep pass three plays later and sparked the comeback.
Skinner was even better on the winning drive. He completed four straight passes for 68 yards, putting Wake Forest at the 12-yard line.