It was ugly, but the Warhawks made enough effective adjustments at halftime to score 17 unanswered points and record their first win of the 2014 season.
Justin Manton's punt was blocked and returned for a Wake Forest touchdown early in the first quarter to put the Warhawks in an early hole. But the defense bailed out the offense and special teams all night, forcing punts on 10 of 12 Demon Deacons offensive drives (not including the incomplete possession at the end of the first half).
Pete Thomas finished 23-41 for 189 yards and no touchdowns in the air, but did have the lone offensive touchdown for the Warhawks when he took a beautifully drawn up QB draw into the endzone from nine yards out on third down to break a 10-10 tie with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Centarius Donald and Tyler Cain combined for 163 yards on 37 carries, proving to be an effective 1-2 punch that can be relied upon when the passing game can't quite get it going.
But the story of the game will be the dominant Monroe defense (or the putrid Wake offense, depending on your perspective). Safety Mitch Lane returned an interception 31 yards to the house in the third quarter to tie the game up at 10, which really seemed to shake Wake freshman QB John Wolford.
He made some good-looking throws throughout the game but could not seem to get anything going after throwing the pick. He finished 12-22 for 97 yards and the interception. The ULM defense also sacked Wolford seven times, including two each by Ray Stovall and Jacob Tyson.
This makes the second year in a row that Louisiana Monroe has beaten Wake Forest. No one is confusing the Deacs for Florida State, but it's always encouraging to see a Sun Belt team beat an ACC opponent.
The Warhawks will now wait until next Saturday, Sept. 6th when they take on the Idaho Vandals in Monroe.