SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Nearly 29,000 fans were not the only no-shows at the Seattle Bowl. Oregon's beleaguered defense also failed to show.
James MacPherson tossed touchdown passes of 57 and 63 yards to Jason Anderson and also rushed for a score as Wake Forest upset the listless Ducks, 38-17, at Seahawk Stadium.
The second-year contest attracted just 38,241 at the 67,000-seat new home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
"We limited big plays defensively and got some offensively," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "We knew that we couldn't have a typical game plan. We run and throw off play action, but we felt that if we couldn't get some deep balls completed that we couldn't win."
The loss completed a stunning late-season collapse for Oregon (7-6), which dropped its final four games and six of its last seven after a 6-0 start.
The slide is even more shocking, considering Oregon was coming off the first 11-win season in school history and defeated Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl to cement a No. 2 national ranking. The Ducks were as high as sixth this season.
"It's very tough to go out with a loss like this and to see things fall flat to the ground," Oregon wide receiver Keenan Howry said. "To spend all of this time building up the program, then people get full of themselves and forget how you got there and try to play off last year."
Defense was a huge problem down the stretch for the Ducks as they surrendered at least 40 points in four of their five regular season losses.
Wake Forest exploited that weakness, rolling up 299 yards in the first half and building a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter.
"I couldn't have asked for a better way to end our season," MacPherson. "Our defense was outstanding and the offensive line at the end was dominant. Anytime you can lineup and just run seven or eight times and score is awesome."
"We had to make a statement early," Wake Forest linebacker Brad White added. "I don't know if we had their full respect but as the game wore on, they started to learn the hard way. They didn't respect us."
The Demon Deacons struck quickly, needing less than three minutes on each of their three first-half scoring drives. Among the touchdowns was MacPherson's 57-yard strike to Anderson.
"Our problem all year has been giving up big plays," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "I don't think we sustained blocks very well and I thought their safeties did a nice job supporting the run defense. We didn't execute our game plan."
Oregon's Jason Fife was benched after completing just 1-of-7 passes on the Ducks' first three series. Kellen Clemens took over and provided a spark for Oregon, which climbed back into the game.
The Ducks carried momentum into the second half after Clemens tossed a seven-yard TD pass to Samie Parker with 26 seconds left in the second period that made it 21-10.
Oregon's defense appeared to settle down in the second half and the Ducks closed to 24-17 on fullback Matt Floberg's one-yard dive over the top with 5:39 left in the third period.
But the back-breaker for the Ducks came 3:37 later when McPherson and Anderson hooked up again to make it 31-17.
"Their defense is aggressive and they get singled up on the outside," Grobe said. "Anderson was isolated, made a great move and the QB put the ball in the right place."
Wake Forest put away the contest on Chris Barclay's 12-yard run with 2:48 left. The Demon Deacons totaled 497 yards, including 256 on the ground. MacPherson completed 9-of-16 passes for 241 yards.
Wake Forest periodically kept Oregon off balance with a no-huddle offense. Barclay paced the Demon Deacons on the ground with 82 yards on 19 carries.
"Once we went back to the no-huddle, we got back in a rhythm and started driving down the field," MacPherson said. "We hit the deep throws when we had to. In the end, we were just wearing them down."
Clemens was 19-of-31 for 161 yards before Fife returned for mop-up duty on Oregon's last possession. He finished 1-of-10 for four yards.
"We planned to play Jason for two series, then Kellen for two," Bellotti said. "Then we were backed up on the 1, so Jason got a third. I thought Jason threw well but was victimized by drops. The plan was to see which guy had the hot hand and go from there."
Oregon running back Onterrio Smith, possibly playing his final game, rushed for just 62 yards on 18 carries. The junior has indicated he may enter the NFL draft, but did not make himself available to the media following Monday's game.
Smith missed Oregon's final three games with a partial cartilage tear in his right knee. He also played most of the contest with a swollen left eye after accidentally getting hit by a helmet.
"I thought Onterrio ran well but he was a little rusty, obviously," Bellotti said. "I don't think his performance was going to be a big factor in his decision."