Williams shines for Wake Forest
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2001
By Ashley Michael
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (BP)--Two years ago, Quinton Williams was class valedictorian and all-time leading rusher of Rosewood High School in Goldsboro, N.C.
Now, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore continues to hone his athletic and academic career at Wake Forest University, making big plays as a defensive back for the Demon Deacons while pursuing a computer science major.
And for his performance last Saturday against the University of North Carolina, Williams was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Back of the Week for his defensive play of the game to secure Wake Forest’s 32-31 Homecoming upset win over the Tar Heels (5-5 overall, 4-3 ACC).
On North Carolina’s final chance to take the lead, Williams knocked the ball out of Tar Heel quarterback Darian Durant’s hand while Deacon defensive back Caron Bracy recovered with 45 seconds left in the game.
“Everybody made a good play on it,” Williams said. “We just pressured the quarterback…You can say it (was) a gutsy call or a great call.”
Either way, Wake Forest’s victory on Saturday was both great and gutsy. Down 24-0 at the half, the Deacons (5-4, 3-4 ACC) scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and continued the offensive attack through the fourth to claw their way back.
“I knew we’d come out in the second half and show character,” said Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe, “but these guys surpassed my expectations. I never dreamed they could play like they did for a half of football.”
“This was perhaps the most complete collapse I’ve ever been around,” North Carolina head coach Jim Bunting said. “What happened in the second half was inconceivable.”
Yes, the loss is rather mind-blowing when you take a glance at the halftime statistics. In the first half, the Tar Heels totally outdistanced Wake Forest, netting 338 yards of total offense compared to the Deacons’ mere 118 yards. However, the second half was a different story. North Carolina managed just 77 yards of offense, while Wake Forest accumulated 236 yards.
“It was like we suited up a different set of guys in the second half,” Williams said. “We fought a little bit harder (than North Carolina)…It’s all about heart. Whenever we take a blow, we don’t flinch.”
Williams dealt a few blows himself, recording nine tackles against the Tar Heels, including six solo stops.
Wake Forest center Vince Azzolina also earned ACC honors. The 6-4, 275-pound senior from Easton, Pa. Started for the 35th consecutive game Saturday, helping the Demon Deacons rack up 354 yards and 32 second-half points. Azzolina’s blocking also prevent Wake quarterback James MacPherson from being sacked all day.
Wake Forest has two games remaining on its schedule. The Demon Deacons will take on Georgia Tech this Saturday and close out the regular season against Northern Illinois on Nov. 24. However, regardless of those games’ outcomes, the comeback win on Nov. 10 will likely be the most memorable game of the 2001 season for the Deacons.
“This is definitely the greatest win I’ve ever been a part of,” said Williams, after Saturday's game. “When you rise to a challenge, that’s a great feeling.”
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