WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Wake Forest opened a 17-point lead two minutes into the third quarter and held on for a 27-22 victory over East Carolina in its home opener.
Last week, Wake Forest dropped a 42-41 overtime decision at Northern Illinois, opting to go for the win rather than kicking the extra point to take the game to a second overtime.
This time, there were no tough decisions for Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe as the Demon Deacons took a 20-3 lead on James MacPherson's 46-yard TD pass to Jason Anderson within 12:54 left in the third quarter. MacPherson completed 16-of-29 passes for 216 yards.
East Carolina (0-2) closed to 20-16 on Art Brown's six-yard TD run with 3:15 left in the third quarter, but Wake Forest made it 27-16 on Cornelius Birgs' two-yard TD plunge with 8:27 left in the contest.
East Carolina needed just 77 seconds to score again, closing to 27-22 on Paul Troth's 15-yard TD pass to Edwin Rios with 7:16 to go.
The Pirates got back the ball once more, but their hopes ended when Troth's pass on 4th-and-3 from the Wake Forest 35 was incomplete with 33 seconds remaining.
Wake Forest held a slim 397-395 edge in total yards, but took advantage of four interceptions by Toth, who completed 21-of-41 passes for 273 yards.
The Demon Deacons took a 3-2 lead in the all-time series, beating East Carolina for the second time in as many seasons.