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Wake Forest football bounces back

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CLAYTON — After suffering their first loss in 45 games, Wake Forest started a new win streak with a 42-10 victory at Clayton on Friday.

The Cougars started off slow, down 10-7 at halftime. Wake Forest scored 35 unanswered points in the second half. The Cougars pounded the Comets through the running game with 265 total rushing yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.

“I’m happy for the kids,” Wake Forest head coach Reggie Lucas said. “They have stayed positive after the Cardinal Gibbons loss. Getting the win against Clayton was good for them.”

Maquel Haywood carried the load for Wake Forest. The senior running back totaled 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. Running back Chris Moore also contributed with eight carries for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Wake Forest only had 67 passing yards, but that was all they needed. Triston Spencer caught the only receiving touchdown of the game. Linebacker Matthew Panz also picked off a pass and returned the interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“The key for us against Clayton was not giving up big plays, especially in the second half,” Lucas said. “Offensively, Maquel Haywood had another big game. Having someone that can score anytime he touches the ball is key to our offense. Special teams played much better, which allowed us to have good field position and kept Clayton from having good field position.”

Lucas also mentioned Chijoke Onuoha as the player of the game. The senior linebacker helped prevent Clayton from scoring in the final three quarters of the game with his leadership on defense.

With the win, Wake Forest improved to 1-1 overall. The Cougars will play Middle Creek at home tonight at 7 p.m.

“We cannot giving up big plays on defense,” Lucas said. “Sustaining our drives on offense and getting points in the red zone is what we’re going to work on in practice. I want no dumb penalties and we want to continue to improve on special teams.”