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2016 Military Bowl final score: Wake Forest holds on to beat Temple with backup QB

The Demon Deacons leaned on their defense.

Military Bowl - Temple v Wake Forest Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

After sprinting out to a 31-10 halftime lead over Temple, Wake Forest held on to beat the Owls 34-26 to win the school’s first bowl game since 2008. That’s also the last time Wake had a winning record.

There are only two Wake Forests. Wake Forest pre-Wakeyleaks and Wake Forest post-Wakeyleaks. At least, I’d like to think there is. One day I’ll get over how truly strange the whole fiasco is, but that day will not be anytime soon. ESPN even showed former Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner in the booth with a graphic naming him as the interim radio analyst for the Deacs.

After the hot start, coach Dave Clawson was of course asked about whether the plugging of the leak had anything to do with how well the team played, and he downplayed it in dutiful coach-speaking fashion.

“Again, we’re executing well and playing well. Nice try.”

But the reason why the Owls taloned their way back into this game in the third quarter is much more concrete. Wake Forest was offensively limited for most of the second half, but it had nothing to do with plays espionage.

Wake QB John Wolford went out in the third quarter after going down on this play. Wake’s offense sputtered and the Owls used the space to battle back. But as Temple drove the ball down the field to tie the game at 31, a crucial sack gave the Owls third-and-goal from the 28-yard line. The Owls were forced to kick the field goal, and then they almost iced the game in one fell swoop with this kickoff return.

After kicking a field goal on that drive, Temple was unable to muster a game-tying drive. A final incompletion floated aimlessly to the turf, and the Deacs iced the game in victory formation.