Scores

Final

(23) Wake Forest 41

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Baylor 13

(0-1, 0-1 home)

8:10 PM ET, August 28, 2008

Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, TX

1 2 3 4 T
#23WAKE 10 10 14 741
BAY 0 6 0 713

Top Performers

Passing: R. Skinner (WAKE) - 220 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: J. Adams (WAKE) - 14 CAR, 37 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. Wooster (WAKE) - 6 REC, 90 YDS, 1 TD

Skinner efficiently dissects Baylor as No. 23 Wake rolls

Associated Press

WACO, Texas -- Riley Skinner goes through stretches where he looks as if he just can't miss.

A pass tucked under a cornerback, another dropped over a linebacker, followed by a mid-range pass down the middle. All of it keeps No. 23 Wake Forest on the move.

Skinner was his uncannily accurate self again Thursday night, tossing three touchdown passes in 41-13 season-opening win over Baylor as the Demon Deacons played up to their first preseason ranking in school history.

Fast Facts

• Wake Forest got its first win in Texas (1-11) and its first win against Baylor (1-4). It was also Wake Forest's second-ever win against the current members of the Big 12 Conference.

• Demon Deacons quarterback Riley Skinner was 27-of-36 for 220 yards and three touchdowns. This was his 19th career win, breaking the school record for wins by a QB.

• Baylor has lost 13 straight games against teams ranked in the AP's Top 25.

-- ESPN Research

"We were efficient," Skinner said.

As usual.

Skinner's 72 percent completion rate led the nation last season and he coolly shredded the Bears, going 27-of-36 for 220 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to Chip Brinkman and another to Ben Wooster. He also earned his 19th career victory, a school record for a quarterback.

"The history here, that's not too impressive of a record," Skinner said. "Hopefully we can add on to that a little bit more."

Baylor, trying to shake off 12 years of losing, hired coach Art Briles away from Houston to replace Guy Morriss. But Briles became just another victim of dubious Bears history, becoming the sixth of the last seven Baylor coaches to lose his first game.

Briles had built a struggling Houston program into a Conference USA champion. His Baylor debut seemed to generate more of a wait-and-see attitude than much of a buzz.

Only about 30,000 fans came to 50,000-seat Floyd Casey Stadium to watch it and many started leaving when Wake Forest took a 34-6 lead late in the third quarter.

"Certainly not the way we drew it up. The thing that's really painful for me and the staff [is] you want to give people a reason to believe," Briles said. "I feel like we let a lot of people down."

The solid win solidifies the early season expectations for Wake Forest, which has clawed into the top ranks of the Atlantic Coast Conference under coach Jim Grobe.

The Demon Deacons forced five turnovers, turning three into touchdowns, and held Baylor to 250 total yards. Cornerback Alphonso Smith got his 15th career interception.

"I was proud of them. It would have been easy to come here and not be ready to play," Grobe said. "I don't know if I've ever been this nervous about an opening game. We've always played well as the underdog but I was really concerned about having that Top 25 ranking coming in here."

Skinner completed 12 of his first 13 passes to stake Wake Forest to a 17-0 lead early in the second. The Demon Deacons seemed to chew up just enough yards on every play to keep drives going. If they needed seven yards on third down, they got eight. If they needed one yard on fourth, they got four.

Briles, trying to find any kind of edge he could, had kept his starting quarterback a secret after a three-way battle in training camp. Miami transfer Kirby Freeman won the start but was ineffective. Smith's interception set up Wake Forest's second touchdown and Freeman was pulled for freshman Robert Griffin.

"Kirby's been through some ups and downs. We felt like he deserved the opportunity and we gave it to him," Briles said. "I thought [Griffin] provided a spark, which is what he has to do for us."

Griffin, a better runner than passer at this point, put some life into the Bears by dancing and ducking along the sideline to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Jacoby Jones.

The lift wouldn't last.

Ben Parks missed the extra point and Wake Forest, aided by a big penalty on a late hit on Skinner, drove to a 42-yard field goal by Sam Swank that made it 20-6 at halftime.

Baylor's last chance to keep it close came at the start of the third when Wake Forest fumbled on the first play. A muffed handoff between Griffin and Jay Finley killed the Baylor drive after only one first down.

Another bad exchange between those two gave Wake Forest the ball on the Baylor 11 and Skinner connected with Brinkman on an 8-yard TD pass to make it 27-6. Skinner had all the time he needed in the pocket and checked through several options before finding Brinkman dragging across the middle of the end zone.

Griffin was 11-of-19 for 125 yards and ran for a touchdown.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WAKE
BAY
1st Downs2315
Total Yards376250
Passing220156
Rushing15694
Penalties5-657-59
3rd Down Conversions7-142-12
4th Down Conversions1-12-3
Turnovers25
Possession34:1625:44

Passing Leaders

Wake ForestC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Skinner27/362206.130
BaylorC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Griffin11/191256.600

Rushing Leaders

Wake ForestCARYDSAVGTDLG
Washington26331.5055
Adams14372.617
BaylorCARYDSAVGTDLG
Griffin11292.6122
Finley10222.206

Receiving Leaders

Wake ForestRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wooster69015.0143
Williams4389.5015
BaylorRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gettis5469.2015
White33210.7014

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERWAKEBAY
FG12:19Sam Swank 40 Yd 30
TD07:00Chip Brinkman 12 Yd Pass From Riley Skinner (Sam Swank Kick) 100
SECOND QUARTERWAKEBAY
TD14:23Brandon Pendergrass 3 Yd Run (Sam Swank Kick) 170
TD02:54Jacoby Jones 12 Yd Run (Pat Failed) 176
FG00:53Sam Swank 42 Yd 206
THIRD QUARTERWAKEBAY
TD07:36Chip Brinkman 8 Yd Pass From Riley Skinner (Sam Swank Kick) 276
TD03:04Ben Wooster 43 Yd Pass From Riley Skinner (Sam Swank Kick) 346
FOURTH QUARTERWAKEBAY
TD12:39Robert Griffin 5 Yd Run (Ben Parks Kick) 3413
TD04:38Josh Adams 4 Yd Run (Sam Swank Kick) 4113