The Wake Forest football team avenged an early season loss to Navy with a 29-19 victory over the Midshipmen in the first annual EagleBank Bowl Saturday in Washington, D.C.
The Demon Deacons entered the game hoping for a better outcome after the sloppy first meeting of thes two teams back in September, in which Wake turned the ball over six times and lost, 24-17.
Navy took a 13-0 lead early on before Wake was able to get anything going offensively.
About halfway through the second quarter, cornerback Alphonso Smith picked off Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada at Wake's 2-yard-line. That interception gave him the all-time ACC record for most interceptions in a season, with 21.
Wake then took the ball 98 yards behind the strong, physical running of Kevin Harris, who bulldozed his way down field. The drive ended with Josh Adams forcing his way into the end zone for a touchdown to make the score 13-7. It stayed that way going into the second half.
Success continued for the Demon Deacons in the third quarter as the "Big Three" of quarterback Riley Skinner, Adams, and fellow running back Kevin Smith plowed their way down field once again and took the lead, 14-13, on Adams' second touchdown of the day.
Navy came back in the fourth quarter and marched down the field on a drive that ended with a two-yard run by Kaheaku-Enhada for a touchdown to put Navy back on top, 19-14.
The two-point-conversion pass by Kaheaku-Enhada was almost picked off in the end zone and left the door wide open for Wake Forest to take the lead right back.
They did just that on the next drive ending with a reception in the end zone by Wake wideout Ben Wooster. The Demon Deacons then gave Navy a free lesson in converting two-point conversions and took a three-point lead, 22-19.
Navy responded with an 80-plus-yard kickoff that would have given them great field position had it not been for a holding penalty that brought them back to their own 27-yard line. They managed no points on the drive.
The Navy defense held up and forced Wake to punt on their next possession with four minutes to play.
Now it was Wake Forest's turn to show some defensive muscle as they forced Kaheaku-Enhada to scramble and then fumble with two minutes left in the game.
Wake Forest recovered and went on to score once more to make it 29-19.
Navy took over and got into field-goal range with 33 seconds remaining. The attempt fell no good and made any idea of trying an onside kick and a miracle comeback all but pointless.
Linebacker Aaron Curry, who had a big day on defense, got Wake Forest's head coach Jim Grobe with the Gatorade bath as the clock ran down, and Wake celebrated its win of the first-ever EagleBank Bowl.