Scores

Final

Wake Forest 9

(11-2, 7-2 ACC)

Georgia Tech 6

(9-4, 7-2 ACC)

1:00 PM ET, December 2, 2006

Everbank Field, JACKSONVILLE, FL

1 2 3 4 T
WAKE 0 3 0 69
GT 3 0 0 36

Top Performers

Passing: R. Skinner (WAKE) - 201 YDS

Rushing: T. Choice (GT) - 21 CAR, 100 YDS

Receiving: C. Johnson (GT) - 8 REC, 117 YDS

Skinner, Swank lift Wake to ACC title; next stop: Orange Bowl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Wake Forest's defensive players huddled near the sideline, pushing and shoving, yelling and screaming, jumping and dancing.

They were trailing 6-3 and ready to do something about it. Riley Swanson did.

Wake Forest
In games decided by 8 points or less
Year Record
2006 5-0
2005 2-2
2004 2-6
2003 1-3

Swanson intercepted a pass from Reggie Ball on the next play, sparking a comeback that gave Wake Forest its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 36 years and sent the Demon Deacons to their biggest bowl game in school history.

Riley Skinner followed Swanson's pick with long completions on consecutive drives, setting up Sam Swank's final two field goals that gave No. 16 Wake Forest a 9-6 victory over 23rd-ranked Georgia Tech in the ACC title game on a rain-soaked Saturday.

"When you get our backs against the wall, these kids respond," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said.

Skinner, who grew up in Jacksonville, finished 14-for-25 for 201 yards in his homecoming -- and may have had the biggest cheering section in the half-empty stadium. He 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 next 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.

The Demon Deacons (11-2) won their second league title and first since 1970, adding another chapter to an improbable season in Grobe's sixth season. The finale comes in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2 -- the program's biggest bowl game since the 1946 Gator Bowl.

Elias Says
Wake Forest
Wake Forest defeated Georgia Tech 9-6 to win their second ACC football championship (and their first since 1970). The Demon Deacons' nine points were by far the fewest ever scored by a winning team in a Division 1-A title game. The previous record was held by Marshall, which beat Western Michigan 19-14 in the 2000 MAC Championship Game. Nebraska held the record for a BCS conference, in a 22-6 victory over Texas in 1999..

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

"I can't even put it in words," said linebacker Jon Abbate, who finished with 15 tackles. "It's been an unbelievable season. Unbelievable to be ACC champs, and I can't explain it."

Georgia Tech (9-4) had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but punted when coach Chan Gailey opted not to go for it on fourth-and-13 from his 18 yard-line.

It was one of several questionable calls for Gailey, who went for it on fourth-and-1 from Wake's 13-yard line in the third quarter. Ball failed to pick up the first down on a quarterback sneak.

Gailey also ordered a field goal early in the fourth quarter instead of attempting a fourth-and-1 play on Wake's 17 with the game tied at 3. Tech also called a reverse in the first quarter on third-and-1. The play resulted in a 9-yard loss.

"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," Gailey said.

Nonetheless, the blame will be put on Ball, and maybe rightfully so.

He was awful for the second consecutive week. He was 9-of-29 passing for 129 yards, with two interceptions. He was 6-of-22 for 42 yards last week in a loss against rival Georgia and threw two interceptions.

The senior refused to talk after the game.

"I think with every quarterback, every time you can get pressure and get contact on him, you get in their head a little bit," Abbate said.

Ball's best passes were three deep balls down the sideline that resulted in pass interference penalties.

Tashard Choice ran 21 times for 100 yards, 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 Swanson for the game-turning interception.

"That was huge," Grobe said. "That was right after the defense got so pumped up. That's where I looked over to the defense and I expected to see them tired and kind of sucking wind. They were dancing around and bumping into each other and ready to go."

Georgia Tech will return to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl in four weeks -- something Gator Bowl officials had hoped to avoid.

ACC commissioner John Swofford even said at halftime that the Gator Bowl would be allowed to select another conference team, essentially giving the bowl permission to overlook a rule that would force the bowl to select Georgia Tech (7-1 in conference play) over Clemson, Boston College or Maryland (all 5-3 in the league).

But the Gator Bowl relented after a week of complaints and invited Georgia Tech back following the game. The Yellow Jackets accepted and probably will face either defending national champion Texas or a team from the Big East.

Wake Forest, meanwhile, will head to Miami.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us to prove one more time what this team is about," Abbate said.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WAKE
GT
1st Downs1618
Total Yards292272
Passing201129
Rushing91143
Penalties7-856-45
3rd Down Conversions4-165-15
4th Down Conversions1-10-3
Turnovers02
Possession34:1225:48

Passing Leaders

Wake ForestC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Skinner14/252018.000-
Georgia TechC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Ball9/291294.402-

Rushing Leaders

Wake ForestCARYDSAVGTDLG
Moore16382.4010
Idlette6355.8019
Georgia TechCARYDSAVGTDLG
Choice211004.8024
Ball15463.1011

Receiving Leaders

Wake ForestRECYDSAVGTDLG
Morton44010.0014
Idlette37324.3045
Georgia TechRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson811714.6026
Johnson11212.0012

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERWAKEGT
FG10:27TRAVIS BELL 21 YD FG
Drive info: 12 plays, 72 yards.
03
SECOND QUARTERWAKEGT
FG1:16SAM SWANK 19 YD FG
Drive info: 12 plays, 61 yards.
33
FOURTH QUARTERWAKEGT
FG13:59TRAVIS BELL 34 YD FG
Drive info: 9 plays, 50 yards.
36
FG8:27SAM SWANK 33 YD FG
Drive info: 8 plays, 52 yards.
66
FG2:55SAM SWANK 22 YD FG
Drive info: 8 plays, 75 yards.
96