Devils Fall To Wake In Winston

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Duke opened up ACC action on the gridiron Saturday afternoon, falling to Wake Forest by a 54-48 count in front of 31,673 rain-soaked fans at BB&T Field.

The Blue Devils fall to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the league while the Demon Deacons improve to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play. The 48 points marked the most by a Duke squad in defeat, bettering the previous high of 45 against N.C. State in 1987.

Wake Forest took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards on nine snaps for a 23-yard scoring run by quarterback Ted Stachitas. On the ensuing possession, Duke marched 58 yards on eight plays for a four-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brandon Connette. The drive was highlighted by a 12-yard pass from Sean Renfee to Conner Vernon to convert a third down to the Demon Deacon eight yard line.

Following a defensive stop, Duke's second drive of the day covered 61 yards and resulted in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Renfree to tight end Cooper Helfet. Wake Forest responded by driving deep into Blue Devil territory, but Duke cornerback Chris Rwabukamba intercepted a Stachitas pass to end the threat.

Wake Forest tied the game at 14-14 when Chris Givens returned a fumbled Duke snap from punt formation 18 yards for a touchdown at the 14:13 mark of the second period. After the Demon Deacons forced a turnover, Wake Forest drove 83 yards in 10 plays to take a 21-14 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tanner Price with 8:07 remaining before halftime.

The Blue Devils knotted the game at 21-21 on their next offensive snap when Renfree hooked up with Vernon for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Wake Forest then tossed an 81-yard scoring pass from wide receiver Marshall Williams to fellow wideout Givens to give the Demon Deacons a 28-21 advantage at the 7:39 mark.

After Renfree's second interception of the half, Wake Forest used a short field to push the lead to 14 points when Price hit Williams for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 5:17 on the clock. Duke's next possession - keyed by a fourth down conversion on the ground by Renfree - yielded seven points when running back Desmond Scott darted 63 yards for a touchdown to cap a five-play, 73-yard drive.

Duke forced a Demon Deacon punt, and Renfree found Austin Kelly open for a 13-yard touchdown pass, equaling the score at 35-35 with 41 seconds left in the half. The two squads combined for 604 yards of total offense in the first half - 326 for Duke and 278 for Wake Forest.

Brown's 43-yard punt return for Wake Forest set up a 38-yard scoring pass from Price to Williams to push the Demon Deacons back in front. Wake Forest failed on the conversion attempt, keeping the score 41-35 with 8:12 left in the third period. After the teams traded punts, Will Snyderwine pulled Duke to within 41-38 with a 46-yard field goal at the 3:13 mark of the third quarter. The scoring drive was set up by a 29-yard punt return by Lee Butler.

Price's 23-yard scoring pass to Danny Dembry just over one minute into the final period extended Wake Forest's lead to 48-38. Duke responded by driving 49 yards on 14 plays for a 38-yard field goal by Snyderwine, making the score 48-41 with 8:45 left to play.

Wake Forest then took 5:52 off the clock, marching 79 yards on 13 plays for a six-yard scoring run by Brown. The conversion again failed, and the Demon Deacons held a 54-41 lead with just under three minutes left. Renfree again hooked up with Vernon, this time for a 51-yard touchdown bomb to pull the Blue Devils to within six points with 1:39 remaining. Wake Forest, however, sealed the victory by recovering a Duke on-side kick attempt.

The two teams combined for 987 total yards on the day.

Renfree finished 28-of-44 passing for 358 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Kelly caught a career-high 10 passes for 73 yards while Vernon finished with eight grabs for a career-best 181 yards. Scott paced the ground attack with 122 yards on 11 carries.

For Wake Forest, Price was 12-of-19 through the air for 190 yards and three scores.

Duke returns home next week to host reigning national champion Alabama at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised by ABC Sports.

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