After Duke took the early lead, Wake marched down the field in 11 plays to go up 7-3. In years past Duke fans would have watched their team play passively after such a response. This year's group rebounded with a 13 play, 70 yard march that was capped by a two yard score by Brandon Connette.
Later in the game Wake Forest rallied from a 10 point deficit and seemed to snatch the momentum for good before Duke responded with 14 straight points to ice the game. In short, this is a much different approach from a confident looking football team in Durham. Which is why they are sitting at 4-1.
DEFENSE FORCES TURNOVERS: Wake entered the game with a reputation for not committing turnovers or being penalized. Duke changed the former stat in a big way, forcing four turnovers on the afternoon including a pair of fourth quarter take-aways by Jordan DeWalt-Ondigo and C.J. France that gave Duke great field position, leading directly to the deciding 14 point spurt.
Wake had a number of big plays that skewed their total yardage numbers, and those are issues the Duke defensive group will want to fix before next week, but overall the unit made plays when they mattered most.
Anthony Boone SHINES: After Sean Renfree left the game with an apparent right elbow injury, Boone got his first opportunity to run the show this season in a meaningful situation. He responded by completing eight of his 11 pass attempts for 54 yards while running for 10 yards and a touchdown. Usually having your starting signal caller knocked out results in a lull on offense. For Duke, the steadiness and poised shown by Boone was huge.
Desmond Scott'S BIG DAY: It's hard not to be happy for Scott, who benefitted from Wake focusing on Conner Vernon for much of the day to record 11 catches for 134 yards. Throw in the production of Vernon and Jameson Crowder, and Duke's got three legit high major wideouts on every play.
RUNNING GAME SHOWS UP: Under Cutcliffe the Blue Devils are always going to have a passing attack that gives opponents problems. But for the first few weeks there weren't a lot of positives in the running game aside from freshman Jela Duncan. On Saturday Duke was able to run the ball 36 times for 123 yards. Take out the losses from Renfree getting sacked, and Duke ran it 34 times for 139 yards (4.1 yards per carry).
Once again the best back on the field appeared to be Duncan, who carried a team high 11 times for 56 yards and one 17 yard touchdown scamper. Duncan added three receptions for 23 yards for a total of 14 touches for 89 yards.
KICKING GAME REMAINS GREAT: It's hard to see another team who has consistently excellent performances from its specialists. And Duke has three and a half more seasons with Ross Martin and Will Monday. Both freshmen were consistent and effective against Wake on Saturday.
Martin connected on both of his field goals (22 and 35 yards) and is now 8-of-9 on the season. On kick-offs he recorded four touchbacks on seven kick-offs.
Meanwhile, Monday kicked five times for an average of 45.0 yards with a long of 57. Monday pinned the Deacons inside their own 20 twice.