Beal-Smith, Taylor help Wake Forest beat Old Dominion 42-10

Sep 3, 2021, 7:26 AM | Updated: 10:05 pm

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Christian Beal-Smith ran for two touchdowns while Ja’Sir Taylor scored on a 99-yard kickoff return to help Wake Forest beat Old Dominion 42-10 in Friday night’s season opener for both teams.

It marked the Monarchs’ return to the field after not playing last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beal-Smith ran untouched around the left end and sprinted down the sideline for a 48-yard touchdown in the first quarter to get the Demon Deacons on the board. Then, after the Monarchs managed a field goal, Taylor came through with his huge return that squashed any fleeting momentum for ODU.

The cornerback broke through an arm-tackle attempt and stayed on his feet through a stumble around the 20-yard line, then kicked into gear and down the sideline for the 99-yard score and a 14-3 lead.

“Once I caught it, I broke a couple of tackles,” Taylor said. “And after the last stiffarm, I just saw green grass and a bunch of my guys leading the way.

It marked only the second kickoff return for a touchdown for Wake Forest since 2008 — and it came from a fifth-year senior with only two punt returns on his resume in the return game.

Taylor — who also had an interception — had assumed the role after a season-ending injury to receiver Donavon Greene. Taylor ran right to Greene to give him a hug behind the end zone after the score, too.

“He’s a guy that has ball skills and we trust, and thought if we had a seam, that he could hit it,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “And obviously that happened tonight.”

Sam Hartman also threw for three scores for Wake Forest, with one of those going to Jaquarii Roberson for his fifth consecutive game with a TD.

Old Dominion was playing its first game since Nov. 30, 2019 and its first game under head coach Ricky Rahne. Rahne, who had previously been Penn State’s offensive coordinator, took over the program nine days after the Monarchs’ last game.

But the Conference USA program canceled all fall sports last season due to the pandemic, delaying Rahne’s debut — which was scheduled to be at home against Wake Forest last year — for more than 640 days.

The Monarchs didn’t get to the end zone until late, with Hayden Wolff lofting a 9-yard toss to Isaiah Spencer with 2:27 left.

“My team, as good as I think they are … we just didn’t play as well as we could today,” Rahne said. “And we’re going to play better.”

THE TAKEAWAY

ODU: The Monarchs had some good moments on the ground behind Elijah Davis (69 yards) and Blake Watson (55). But ODU got nothing in the passing game from UCF graduate transfer D.J. Mack, who emerged from a three-way battle to start at quarterback. Mack completed 7 of 21 passes for just 39 yards with two interceptions. Wolff threw for 88 yards on 11-for-17 passing in mop-up duty.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had a stress-free start to their push for a sixth straight bowl game, this one with fans back in the stadium after having limited-capacity crowds last season amid the pandemic. Wake Forest had offensive balance (184 yards passing, 164 rushing), though the Demon Deacons ended the first half with Beal-Smith being stuffed on a fourth-down wildcat leap for the end zone at the goal line.

MOTHERLY ADVICE

Wake Forest receiver A.T. Perry experienced some first-game jitters with fans back in the stadium after having limited-capacity crowds last year amid the pandemic.

He knew one way to handle it Friday: call Mom.

Three times, no less.

“I was really anxious, I was really nervous,” Perry said. “But as soon as I stepped on the field and I had seen al the fans, I was like, ‘It’s time.'”

Whatever she said worked. He finished with four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

UP NEXT

ODU: The Monarchs have their home opener against Hampton on Sept. 11.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host another visitor from Virginia on Sept. 11, facing Norfolk State.

___

More AP college football: http://www.twitter.com/hub/College-football and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Canada's James Crawford celebrates in the finish area after completing an alpine ski, men's World C...
Associated Press

Canadian skier Crawford edges Kilde for world super-G title

COURCHEVEL, France (AP) — Canadian skier James Crawford edged Aleksander Aamodt Kilde by one-hundredth of a second to win the gold medal in the men’s super-G at the world championships on Thursday. Alexis Pinturault finished 0.26 seconds behind to take bronze, two days after the Frenchman won the combined race at the worlds in his […]
1 day ago
FILE - Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) looks to drive against Chicago Bulls' Coby White (0) during ...
Associated Press

AP source: Brooklyn Nets trading Kevin Durant to Suns

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant’s time in Brooklyn ended early Thursday when the Nets agreed to trade him to the Phoenix Suns, a person with knowledge of the details said. The Suns will send Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and additional draft compensation to the Nets for the 13-time All-Star. […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, dribbles around Golden State Warriors forward An...
Associated Press

Lillard has triple-double, Blazers beat Warriors 125-122

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied past the Golden State Warriors 125-122 on Wednesday night. It was just the second triple-double of Lillard’s career, and first this season. “I didn’t shoot the ball very well. But I think I approached the […]
1 day ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving smiles as he warms up prior to an NBA basketball game against t...
Associated Press

Irving scores 24 in Dallas debut, leads Mavs over Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kyrie Irving came out charging in his Dallas debut, keying a big run to open the game and sparking his new teammates in front of a cheering Luka Doncic on the bench. Irving scored 24 points and the Mavericks never trailed in beating the Los Angeles Clippers 110-104 on Wednesday night. […]
1 day ago
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) goes to the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McD...
Associated Press

T’wolves top Jazz in matchup of teams trading with Lakers

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 31 points and Jaylen Nowell added a career-high 30 to lead Minnesota to a 143-118 win over Utah on Wednesday night amid word the Timberwolves, Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers were part of an eight-player swap hours ahead of the NBA trade deadline. “It was crazy, the […]
1 day ago
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) is congratulated after scoring during the second period of t...
Associated Press

Benn breaks scoreless tie early in 2nd, Stars top Wild 4-1

DALLAS (AP) — Captain Jamie Benn broke a scoreless tie 23 seconds into the second period of his 1,001st career game, and the Dallas Stars beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Wednesday night. Benn’s 20th goal on a perfect feed from 19-year-old rookie Wyatt Johnston started a three-goal second for the Western Conference-leading Stars. Radek […]
1 day ago
Beal-Smith, Taylor help Wake Forest beat Old Dominion 42-10