Chad Hedlund kicked three field goals, and Wake Forest returned from an open week with a much-improved defense and beat mistake-prone Virginia 16-10 on Saturday, the Cavaliers' sixth consecutive loss.
In the win, the Demon Deacons (4-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) gained the fewest yards of any of their conference victories since beating North Carolina 3-0 on Oct. 22, 1966.
Wake came in allowing more than 206 rushing yards and 31 points, but limited the Cavaliers to 48 yards on 32 carries. The Deacs also stymied a late Virginia drive with a 6-yard loss on second down and an 11-yard sack of Phillip Sims on third down.
The Cavaliers (2-6, 0-4) had driven to the Demon Deacons' 36 before those two plays.
On its previous drive, Virginia reached the Wake Forest 34 and faced second-and-1 when Sims tried to float a pass to 5-foot-11 wide receiver Darius Jennings near the end zone. Instead, Demon Deacons 6-1 cornerback Kevin Johnson got inside position on the throw and intercepted it, ending the possession. Johnson also recovered a fumble earlier in the game.
The final straw came with 1:59 left when Virginia forced a punt, and the ball hit returner Khalek Shepherd near the shoulders and bounced away, with the Demon Deacons recovering to essentially finish off the win.
Virginia's third turnover was among several special teams miscues for the team in the game.
The Demon Deacons went ahead 16-7 with more help as Virginia got called for an illegal block in the back when Wake Forest punted on fourth-and-11 from the Cavaliers' 38. The Deacons went for it on fourth-and-1, and quarterback Tanner Price made it. Six plays later, Hedlund kicked his third field goal, a 24 yarder.
Virginia answered quickly, driving 62 yards in eight plays. Sims started the drive with a 31-yard pass to Jake McGee, but the drive stalled at the Demon Deacons 13. Ian Frye kicked a 30-yard field goal.
Wake Forest led 10-7 at halftime, and Hedlund's 44-yard field goal made it 13-7 in the third.
The Demon Deacons scored on their first offensive play of the game. After forcing Virginia to punt, Lovell Jackson returned it 60 yards. On the next play, running back Josh Harris went right for a 16-yard touchdown.
Almost the rest of the half was a punting contest, except for one Cavaliers drive that reached the Demon Deacons 26. From there, Frye tried a 44-yard field goal, but the kick sailed wide right.
Virginia finally got something going late in the half, almost all of it through the air. Sims completed seven passes on the drive, converting on third down three times, and hit former Oscar Smith High School teammate Tim Smith on a slant from 13 yards and Smith beat the defense to the right pylon thanks to a seal block from fellow Smith grad and UVa senior running back Perry Jones.
Only 20 seconds remained in the half, but the Demon Deacons made another special teams play as Chibuikem Okoro returned the short kick 20 yards to the 40. A personal foul on Kyle McCartin for tackling Okoro out of bounds moved it to the Virginia 45. Price hit 6-5 Brandon Terry in one-on-one coverage with 6-foot Drequan Hoskey for 41 yards, and Hedlund's 22-yard first field goal made it 10-7 at halftime.
Wake's scoring drives in the half took six seconds and 17 seconds.