Deacons Nip Blue Devils, 24-22

One year ago the Wake Forest Demon Deacons put the final nail in former head coach Carl Franks' coffin by running up a 42-0 halftime lead on the Blue Devils. This time there would be no blow out as Duke battled and set themselves up for a first conference win of the year. However costly mistakes and poor redzone execution once again did in the Devils.

Quarterback Mike Schneider completed 28-of-45 passes for a career high 300 yards while a finally healthy Cedric Dargan added 113 on the ground and the Blue Devils rolled to a season best 423 yards of total offense on Saturday. However, a number of mistakes in the redzone resulted in missed opportunities including a turnover at the Wake Forest one-yard line.

Three more drives would yield only a pair of Matt Brooks' field goals as Duke squandered a chance to put the Deacons on their heals early.

It would have been a big confidence booster for Duke to have converted as Wake Forest entered the game having lost four league games by a combined 23 points, including overtime losses to Clemson and North Carolina State. Last week, the Demon Deacons lost to Florida State 20-17 on a field goal with just more than a minute to play.

Those miscues proved crucial, preventing them from building a comfortable lead despite out gaining Wake Forest 160-21 in the opening period.

But it was not to be as Chris Barclay rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown Saturday to lift Wake Forest past Duke 24-22 in a battle of winless conference teams. It was the fifth consecutive time the Deacons had beaten the Blue Devils.

After Brooks booted the Devils to a 6-0 lead to end the first quarter, Wake Forest drove down the field before Ben Mauk stepped in and connected on a 30-yard touchdown strike to give the Deacons their first lead of the game. Mauk, who had been the backup all season long, may have created a quarterback controversy in Winston.

The Demon Deacons had rotated the red shirt freshman with starter Cory Randolph all season, but Mauk was the one moving Wake Forest's offense Saturday. Mauk directed all four scoring drives, while Randolph threw for just 1 yard and had three turnovers.

After a Wake field goal upped the lead to 17-9, the Blue Devils recovered a fumble and set up a 3-yard scoring pass from Schneider to Andy Roland, cutting the deficit to 17-15. Duke went for a two-point conversion to tie the game, but Schneider couldn't complete the pass.

The Deacons immediately answered, going 54 yards to set up a Micah Andrews' 1-yard run for a 24-15 lead.

It seemed as though the Blue Devils would respond in kind, after driving inside the 20 before the offense began to sputter out. Schneider miss two straight receivers and Dargan was stopped on a third down run, setting up a Matt Brooks 31-yard field goal attempt, which was wide.

That final miss proved to be the difference maker as Duke would score again on a TD pass from Schneider to Ronnie Elliot with just over a minute to play that would have given Duke the lead. However the Blue Devils were forced to attempt an onside kick, which they failed to recover, allowing Wake Forest to run out the clock.


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