Demon Deacons use balanced attack to dispatch Norfolk State

Wake Forest scores 20 unanswered in a 41-16 win

Quarterback Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons improved to 2-0 with a win Saturday over Norfolk State in Winston-Salem. (Chris Carlson / AP Photo)

WINSTON-SALEM — Sam Hartman passed for 244 yards and a touchdown, Christian Turner rushed for two scores and Wake Forest beat Norfolk State 41-16 on Saturday.

Wake Forest scored 20 straight points, spanning halftime, to take control.

Coach Dave Clawson had talked earlier this week about wanting to see better offensive execution after an “uneven” performance in the season-opening win against Old Dominion. He largely got what he was looking for Saturday, as the Demon Deacons ran for 161 yards and had 413 total yards while dipping into their depth chart against the Championship Subdivision opponent.

“When you play these games and you have a physical advantage, you want to be efficient and you want to make explosive plays,” Clawson said. “It’s really hard to find any fault with what we did on offense other than when you put the 2s and the 3s in, you don’t want it to drop off as much as it did.”

Jaquarii Roberson had four catches for 97 yards for the Demon Deacons (2-0), including when he ran past the defense for Hartman’s deep ball for a 64-yard score on the first play of the second half. That marked his sixth straight game with a touchdown reception.

Christian Beal-Smith carried it nine times for 60 yards and ran for a first-half score along with Hartman and Turner — a Michigan transfer who reached the end zone for the first time with Wake Forest.

“We came out and did what we wanted to do,” Hartman said. “We ran the plays and executed. It was a pretty routine offensive affair. We didn’t really try to pull out a lot of bells and whistles and try to run our offense. I think we we executed. From Week 1 to Week 2, I think it was a good say.”

Juwan Carter was 19 of 31 passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns for Norfolk State (0-2). Rayquan Smith and Anthony Williams each made one catch — both for touchdowns.

Norfolk State scored its second-most points against an FBS team — in its first game against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference program is 0-15 against Bowl Subdivision teams.

The Demon Deacons have started the season with two lopsided wins against teams that didn’t play last season due to the pandemic, the first being last week’s 42-10 win against Old Dominion. Wake Forest has now won 16 straight games against FCS opponents dating to 2000 and turns its attention to ACC play.

“We are where we need to be,” Clawson said. “When the schedule comes out, I think you look at it and say, ‘Hey you’ve got to get those first two.’ And now the rest of the way, it’s going to be a heavyweight fight every single week.”

The Demon Deacons host Florida State next Saturday in their league opener. The teams were scheduled to meet last December in a game that was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns on the Seminoles’ roster.