BOSTON — Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson figured the best defense for Boston College’s big running backs was to simply stay on the field on offense.
Boy, did they do that impressively.
Jamie Newman threw for two touchdowns and Wake Forest relied on its extremely efficient third-down conversions Saturday to beat the Eagles 27-24.
Newman completed 21 of 33 passes for 243 yards but was picked off once. He also ran for 102 yards, and Cade Carney added a TD run for Wake Forest (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which went 17 of 24 on third-down attempts.
Anthony Brown was 21 of 29 for 268 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Running back David Bailey threw for a TD and caught one, and AJ Dillon carried 23 times for 159 yards for BC (3-2, 1-1).
“Every week with our football team we come up with a big three for each side of the ball,” Clawson said. “On offense this week, one of the big three was third-down conversions — that we have to stay on the field against this group.”
Clinging to a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Newman lofted a 27-yard TD to Scotty Washington, who made a leaping grab over Jason Maitre to make it 27-17.
The Eagles had 536 total yards to Wake Forest’s 440.
“We told our guys earlier in the week this is going to a be a four-quarter, one-score game,” Clawson said.
BC then sliced it to 27-24 when Bailey hit tight end Chris Garrison with a 16-yard scoring toss with just under seven minutes left.
“We had some self-inflicted wounds and some penalties that didn’t need to happen,” Brown said. “Other than that, I really don’t know what to say.”
But the Demon Deacons converted a couple more third downs before punting the ball back in the closing seconds.
“I think we’re a very smart team and I think we know our situations very well,” Newman said.
Trailing 20-17, BC was lining up for a 43-yard field attempt when it was whistled for a delay of game as Aaron Boumerhi booted it through the uprights. Then, on the next attempt, the Eagles bounced the snap before holder Dennis Grosel threw an incomplete pass deep.
“We had several third downs that we failed to get off on, but we also made some plays as well,” BC coach Steve Addazio said. “At the end of that game, we made more plays than they did, but they converted on more scoring opportunities.”
The teams were tied 17-all at halftime.
On BC’s first possession of the second half, Addazio passed on a field goal opportunity on a fourth-and-3 at the Wake Forest 21 and Brown’s pass was picked off by Amari Henderson — his second of the game.
“Our analytics said to go for it there,” Addazio said.
The Demon Deacons then marched 78 yards in a school record-tying drive of 20 plays, converting four third downs, before Nick Sciba kicked his second 22-yard field goal of the game, making it 20-17.
Brown hit Bailey with a 4-yard scoring toss on a shovel pass to tie it with 41 seconds left before halftime.
Finding The End Zone
Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt caught a 6-yard TD pass late in the second quarter, out-battling defensive back Brandon Sebastian in the right corner. It gave him a TD reception for a school-record seventh straight game.
Entering the day, Wake Forest was just outside the AP Top 25. With a loss by a school in the lower portion of the poll, the Demon Deacons will likely find themselves inside.
Wake Forest: The last time the Demon Deacons opened 5-0 they went to the Orange Bowl in 2007. The win gave them seven straight, including the last two last year to match a 75-year old school record.
Boston College: The season only gets tougher for the Eagles, who have to play five of their last seven on the road.
Wake Forest: Off next week. Hosts Louisville on Oct. 12.
Boston College: At Louisville next Saturday.