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Wake Forest caps wild final moments by beating Pitt

wake-forest-caps-wild-final-moments-by-beating-pitt

Cameron Hite caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from third-string quarterback Santino Marucci with seven seconds left as Wake Forest pulled out a 21-17 victory against Pitt in a wild final stretch at Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Demon Deacons (4-3, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) scored two touchdowns and threw an interception in an improbable final 3:02 in halting a three-game losing streak.

Christian Veilleux threw 22 yards to Bub Means with 1:30 left and Pitt (2-5, 1-3) appeared ready to escape. When M.J. Devonshire intercepted Marucci at the Pitt 28, the Panthers were in good shape.

But Veilleux's third-down run for an apparent first down turned disastrous for the Panthers when it was determined Veilleux began his slide at the Pitt 16, 1 yard short of the first-down mark. A punt followed and the Demon Deacons converted quickly for the winning points.

Demond Claiborne's 42-yard touchdown run with 3:02 left lifted Wake Forest into a 14-10 lead. Claiborne finished with 96 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Wake Forest had 323 yards of total offense, but 89 of those came on the first scoring drive of the fourth-quarter.

The game marked the debut at quarterback for Marucci, a third-stringer and redshirt sophomore who was in a starting role because of injuries to two teammates.

Ben Sauls' 41-yard field goal with 13:03 to play put the Panthers up 10-7. That came following Phillip O'Brien Jr.'s interception late in the third quarter.

On its next possession, Wake Forest drove to the Pitt 32-yard line but gave the ball back after coming up short on a fourth-and-2 run.

Pitt's C'Bo Flemister ran for 105 yards on 23 carries and Veilleux threw for 302 yards.

Wake Forest quarterbacks Mitch Griffis (undisclosed), who started the first six games, and Michael Kern (shoulder) were not in uniform because of injuries.

The rematch of the 2021 ACC championship game pitted two teams that have largely struggled this year. The Panthers lost for the first time in three games all-time against the Demon Deacons.

Veilleux threw 7 yards to Kenny Johnson as the Panthers scored on the game's opening possession.

Wake Forest, which generated little on offense, suddenly came through by going 55 yards in two plays (plus a 15-yard facemask penalty on the defense) to pull even with 1:32 left in the half. Claiborne ran 18 yards for the touchdown.

Wake Forest had 125 yards of total offense through three quarters. Pitt was at 262.

--Field Level Media

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Field Level Media features breaking news & coverage of 7,000+ annual events from a network of more than 200 professional journalists across North America.

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