WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Although he wouldn't tell his players, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe had a feeling his team would find itself in a dogfight Saturday night with Liberty.
And he was right.
The Demon Deacons needed a go-ahead touchdown run from redshirt freshman Deandre Martin in the fourth quarter to post a 20-17 come-from-behind win over Liberty. Martin, who took over after starting running back Josh Harris went down with a concussion, finished with 74 yards rushing.
On a rain-soaked evening, the Demon Deacons had all they could handle with Liberty, a Football Championship Subdivision foe with 65 scholarship players.
"All in all it was a scary night," Grobe said. "It was good to get a win. I'm a little different than the players. They probably would like to win more convincingly, but for me I will take a three-point win just as much as a 40-point win."
The Flames led 14-7 late in the third quarter when Wake Forest safety A.J. Marshall stepped in front of a Brian Hudson pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to help turn the tide.
On Wake Forest's next possession, Martin capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive by racing around right end to give the Demon Deacons their first lead at 20-14 with 13:24 remaining.
Hudson threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns for Liberty, but the interception proved to be huge.
"That was one of our best offensive plays of the night," Grobe said.
Grobe had concerns coming in about his offensive line after having to replace four starters from last season — and that inexperience showed.
The Demon Deacons looked out of sync in the early going, failing to register a first down on their first three possessions. Even when they did finally move the chains late in the first quarter it looked ugly as quarterback Tanner Price scrambled for a 4-yard gain on third-and-4 on a busted play.
Wake Forest had 42 total yards midway through the second quarter and trailed 7-0 until Price found his favorite target Michael Campanaro down the middle for a 31-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Campanaro had 96 yards on nine catches.
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