Bryce Love exploded in the second half to lead Wake Forest to a 35-18 win against visiting Leesville Road Friday night in Cap Eight play.
Love was bottled up in the first half, but ran for 135 of his 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter. He finished with four TDs and 232 total yards.
“He’s so talented,” Leesville Road coach Mike Hobgood said. “Probably one of the players being the difference in the game. He put them over the edge.”
Love’s has 1,047 rushing yards this season.
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Senior-laden Wake Forest came in averaging 43 points.
Following a turnover on its first possession, Wake Forest scored on its next three series, starting with freshman Devon Lawrence’s 4-yard TD run. Zach Coates extra point kick gave Wake Forest the early 7-6 lead.
Love added a 5-yard TD run in the second quarter to increase the lead to 14-6.
On the next series, Love made an over-the-shoulder catch on a pass from Mack Moore. Love then out-raced the defense to the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown reception. Coates kick made it 21-6.
If there was a flaw in Wake Forest’s (9-0, 5-0) performance, it was the turnovers. The Cougars committed three compared to none for the Pride.
“Too many fumbles,” Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas said. “We’ve got to eliminate the turnovers and I think we’ll be OK.”
Leesville (5-4, 3-2) stayed in the game early by converting a couple of Wake Forest turnovers into touchdowns.
Leesville recovered a fumble on its 42-yard line on Wake Forest’s opening drive. On the ensuing drive, the Pride scored on Mike Dehaney’s six-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
With 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Patrick Rice intercepted Moore and returned it 80 yards before he was dragged down by Love at the Cougar 3-yard line. Dehaney punched it in on the next play. The pass attempt conversion failed to keep the game 21 -12 heading into the half.
In the second half it was all about Love.
Love raced through a hole on the right side and down the field untouched for a 59-yard score in the third quarter to put the Cougars up 28-12.
Then in the fourth quarter, on a fourth-and-1 at the Pride’s 35-yard line, Love ran up the middle, raced to the right and stiff-armed the last defender to put Wake Forest up 35-12.
Leesville scored with 4:11 left in the game on a 9-yard TD pass by Clay Vick to Trey Keeney, making the score 35-18. The score came after another Wake Forest turnover.
Vick was a bright spot for Leesville, finishing 24 of 31 for 213 yards passing.
“There’s no growth without challenges,” Hobgood told his team afterward. “(Wake Forest) is one of the best teams in the state, and we were right there with them for a long time.”