AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Never before had Wake Forest played a football game so far west of the Mississippi. Air Force gave the Demon Deacons little incentive to come back.
Qualario Brown ran for a career-high 166 yards and the Air Force defense regained its stifling form of a year ago in a 42-0 win over Wake Forest on Saturday.
"I know I speak for everyone when I say this is embarrassing," Wake Forest wide receiver Desmond Clark said. "It's one of our most humbling losses."
Air Force (1-0), which held opponents to 12.4 points a game last season, recorded its most lopsided shutout since a 45-0 win over San Jose State in the 1996 opener. Wake Forest (0-1) lost to Maryland 52-0 two years ago.
"A shutout is your No. 1 goal," said Air Force cornerback Tim Curry, who had an interception on a blocked punt. "It's great making the interceptions, and it's great making the fumble recoveries, but if you shut a team out, your offense just has to score two points, three points."
Air Force had that covered midway through the first quarter, and rode Brown to a 21-0 halftime lead.
Brown, whose previous best was 158 yards, had a 73-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Dylan Newman recovered Adrian Duncan's muffed punt in the end zone five minutes into the third to give Air Force a 28-0 lead.
"We certainly didn't expect to see what we saw," Wake Forest coach Jim Caldwell said. "We had everything happen to us, and most of it we allowed to happen. They just dominated us."
Wake Forest, which averaged 22 points and 359 yards a game in 1997, managed only 7 yards in the first quarter and finished with 306.
Curry held the highly touted Clark to just four catches for 15 yards. Clark needs 34 catches to set the Atlantic Coast Conference career reception record.
"I'm not the whole offense," Clark said. "We have a lot of talent. For us to win, I don't have to catch 10 passes."
The Demon Deacons had only two good scoring chances, but Curry picked off Brian Kuklick's pass at the goal line late in the second quarter, and Wake Forest turned the ball over on downs at the Air Force 16 in the third.
"I'm shocked," Air Force defensive coordinator Cal McCombs said. "I thought we'd have a heck of a time just winning."
Air Force, 13-2 in homer openers under coach Fisher DeBerry, put the game away midway through the fourth quarter when Tony Metters picked up Curry's blocked punt and went 17 yards for the score. Matt Paroda added a 5-yard TD run.
The Falcons converted three third-down conversions on their opening drive, capped by Blane Morgan's 1-yard keep. After holding Wake Forest to 7 yards on its first two possessions, Air Force scored on another Morgan plunge 11 seconds into the second quarter.
Wake Forest managed its first down on the ensuing possession, but could not advance past midfield, and then surrendered the 73-yard scoring run to Brown, who had 148 yards by halftime.
"Can't wait to put (the pads) back on next week," Brown said.