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Hartman’s record-breaking performance powers Wake Forest past Missouri, 27-17

Sam Hartman broke the record for most career touchdown passes by an ACC quarterback (110) in an efficient effort against the Tigers.

NCAA Football: Gasparilla Bowl-Wake Forest at Missouri Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa, FL was the scene for the 2022 Gasparilla Bowl between Missouri and Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons left south Florida with a 27-17 victory to move to 8-5 on the season.

Sam Hartman, in the final game of his illustrious career, finished with 280 yards passing and three touchdowns. He broke the ACC record for career touchdown passes in this game, ending with 110 during his time under Dave Clawson.

With 4:55 left in the first half, it appeared as if Wake Forest was set to win by even more. The Demon Deacons led 14-3 and were set up in Missouri territory after Luther Burden mishandled a punt.

The team in white had dominated up to that point, with the duo of Sam Hartman and A.T. Perry dicing up the Missouri secondary and the Tiger offense sputtering on most of their early drives.

Brady Cook had a lot of pressure on his shoulders thanks to a running game that produced just four yards in the first quarter. Eliah Drinkwitz attempted to kickstart the offense with a flea flicker and then a reverse to Luther Burden III, but nothing seemed to work.

Wake Forest drove into the red-zone after the fumbled punt, but Jaylon Carlies intercepted Hartman in the end zone, and momentum swung in the opposite direction.

Cook, with two offensive linemen, Tauskie Dove and Luther Burden (who returned later) going down with injury in the first half, led a scoring drive to pull the Tigers back into the game. After completing a nice ball to Mookie Cooper on a third-and-1, he scampered for 36 yards to set the Tigers up in a goal-to-go situation. Then, Cook deftly handled an early snap, scrambled to the right, and popped a pass to Demaryion Houston over a defender’s head for a touchdown.

The swing from 21-3 to 14-10 changed the tone of this game. Both teams crossed midfield towards the end of the first half, but the Wake Forest lead remained at four come halftime.

Cook impressed in the opening half, throwing for 174 yards and one touchdown while also leading the team with 40 rushing yards.

Mizzou carried the momentum into the third quarter. They got a stop on the Demon Deacons’ opening drive and followed it up with a 13-play, 83-yard drive that was capped off by a Cody Schrader 4-yard touchdown. Schrader finished with 54 yards on the night.

Hartman would not go away quietly. With his own running game struggling, he took over in this game, making big-time throws when his team needed it. The Demon Deacons responded to the Mizzou score within two minutes thanks to a 48-yard touchdown from Hartman to Jahmal Banks.

The extra point would be missed, however, making the score read 20-17 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.

After that, the scoring ceased. The two teams exchanged drives of stalling at midfield and battling for field position all the way until Wake Forest iced the game with 2:33 left.

Hartman found Taylor Morin in a tight window over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown. The score concluded an eight-play, 75-yard drive for the Demon Deacons.

Two sacks on Missouri’s final drive would seal their fate, dropping them to 6-7 on the season.

In the end, the Tigers had nine penalties for 85 yards and were 2-for-5 on fourth downs. That, as well as allowing Wake Forest to accumulate ten tackles for loss led to a defeat in this one.

The down, then up, then down again progression of this game summed up how inconsistent yet promising this Missouri team has been in 2022.

The Tigers now shift their focus to the off-season, with plenty of work to be done in the transfer portal and on the recruiting trail (NSD is February 1st).