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November 19, 2011

Deacs punch postseason ticket

Winston-Salem, N.C. - The game was tied 7-7 at the intermission, making for a quiet Wake Forest locker room except for Chris Givens telling his teammates their efforts were unacceptable, and that they needed to play better. The Demon Deacons answered Givens' call to action, as they outscored Maryland 24-3 in the second half to cruise to a strong 31-10 victory over the Terrapins to become bowl-eligible.

Givens certainly backed his words up, catching eight passes for 191 yards and a touchdown, while being sick.

"We went out as an offense as a whole, and just executed and just did the necessary things it took for us to win this game," Givens said. "Watching film on them all week I thought I did a pretty good job of breaking them down, knowing their strengths and their weaknesses, so really I just went out there and executed and did me."

It was more than just Givens, as the Deacs shutout the Terps in all four of their red-zone appearances. That marked the first red-zone shutout by Wake since its 30-0 win over Florida State in 2006.

"Other than our defense on that last possession in the first half, we played pretty well all night," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "All in all, it's a big win for us."

Givens was not the only one calling players out for Wake Forest. Tuesday senior outside linebacker Kyle Wilber said earlier this season the Deacs had a players only meeting, where the seniors showed the younger players their bowl rings.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Merrill Noel, who recorded four tackles, broke up two passes and forced a fumble said all he thinks about every Saturday is sending the seniors out with a bang.

This win is more than a bang.

"We had a goal in mind," Wilber said. "We wanted to go bowling. Coach told us it's not fun watching games in December, so now we're going to play in one."

Wilber added that Wake finally played four good quarters of football, which really only applies to the defense, as the Demon Deacons sputtered early offensively.

"Defensively we played very, very well in the first half, and in parts of the second half we gave up some big plays that hurt us," Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said.

Wake Forest struggled significantly against the ACC's worst defense, allowing three sacks, rushing for only 40 yards and scoring a meek seven points before the intermission.

"It was a different team [in] the second half," Price said. "First half we came out and we were just flat, and we had just one guy hurting us every play. We were just killing ourselves. In the second half we came out ready to play, and knew we were a lot better than the way we were showing in the first half. We were successful after that."

Along with Givens, Price and Brandon Pendergrass led the way in the second half.

Price finished with his best performance of the season, completing an impressive 20-32 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Pendergrass carried 26 times for 125 yards and a touchdown, which was his second 100-plus-yard rushing performance in a row.


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