WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Black squad mounted a second-half comeback, but the Gold team held on for a 31-12 victory in Wake Forest's annual spring game on Saturday afternoon at BB&T Field.
Tyler Cameron and Kevin Sousa took turns quarterbacking each squad on Saturday. Sousa led the way with 178 yards on 16-of-32 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Cameron went 9-of-26 for 83 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Sousa did damage through the air while with the Gold squad, picking up 127 yards on 10-of-17 passing while also running for 18 yards and a score. With the Black, the junior showed off his ground game, rushing for 50 yards on just six attempts.
"Sousa makes a lot of plays with his feet," Head Coach Dave Clawson said of the quarterback. "The quarterback position is fluid. We'll make a decision before fall camp or before the first game. We told the freshmen that we recruited that we would give them a chance to compete, and we're certainly going to give them that chance."
Orville Reynolds, playing for the Gold team, led all rushers with 53 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts. The senior also notched a late four-yard touchdown catch from Cameron.
Jared Crump pulled in six passes for 85 yards on the Gold squad, while teammate Tyree Harris had a pair of catches for 50 yards. On the Black side, Matt James led the receivers with three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Thomas Brown for the Gold had a stellar defensive game, totaling five tackles while hauling in a pair of interceptions, including one returned for a score in the opening quarter. For the Black, Johnny Garcia had a sack and Desmond Floyd racked up 3.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup, while Kevin Johnson had a pick-six of his own in the third quarter.
"Right now we're better on defense than on offense," Clawson said of the team following the game. "It's been that way most of the spring. The offense has had a few moments in practices, but right now we're just older and more experienced on defense."
The Gold team got on the board first when Brown intercepted a Sousa pass and returned it 28 yards for a score with 8:46 remaining in the first quarter.
The Gold took a 10-0 lead with 11:17 left in the second quarter when Chad Hedlund booted a 46-yard field goal.
The Gold gained a turnover on the next drive when defensive end Duke Ejiofor stripped quarterback Brendan Wood of the ball and it floated into the arms of Shelldon Lewinson, who returned the ball 10 yards, setting up the Gold at the Black 17. Reynolds and Sousa carried the ball down to the 3 before Reynolds went the final distance for a touchdown with 8:46 left in the second, putting the Gold up 17-0.
Brown returned his second interception 27 yards to the Black 33. Sousa hit Jared Crump for 27 yards down to the 6. After a one-yard gain by Reynolds, Sousa kept the ball and scored on a five-yard run for a 24-0 Gold advantage. The Gold team would carry the 24-point advantage into the half.
The Black squad finally got onto the board midway through the third quarter on an interception return for a touchdown by Johnson. Sousa's pass was initially deflected by Anthony Wooding, who popped the ball up and into the waiting hands of Johnson. The senior cornerback broke free and took the ball 41 yards for the score. The touchdown cut the Gold team's lead to 24-6 after Mike Weaver could not connect on the point after.
"As an experienced secondary, we definitely want to embrace that role and try to lead these guys," Johnson said after the game. "We have a lot of faith in the front seven and in the offense, but we're going to attempt to be the best secondary in the country."
Set up by a pair of strong runs by Sousa, the Black team cut further into the lead in the fourth quarter. The junior quarterback had separate rushes of 17 and 20 yards on the drive, which culminated in the first touchdown pass of the day on a six-yard connection from Sousa to James with 7:47 remaining. The Gold's lead was cut down to just 24-12 after the Black could not hit the extra point.
The Gold, led by Cameron, responded with a touchdown pass of its own with 1:47 left on the clock to ice the game. The drive was keyed by a long pass play from Cameron to Crump for 32 yards down the left sideline, and four plays later, Cameron hit Reynolds on an out route to the right side of the end zone for four yards and the score. Hedlund's extra point made it 31-12 in favor of the Gold.
Wake Forest will open its season and the Clawson era on the road at Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday, Aug. 28.