Deacons Hold Off Duke, 41-36

Despite a four touchdown performance from QB Thaddeus Lewis, the Blue Devils fellt to Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon in Wallace Wade Stadium.

DURHAM, N.C. – Thaddeus Lewis threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns with 147 yards and two of his touchdowns going to Eron Riley and led Duke on a ferious comeback attempt, but it fell short as the Blue Devils (1-5, 0-3 ACC) fell to Wake Forest (3-2, 2-1) 41-36 Saturday afternoon here at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Wake Forest wide receiver Kenny Moore had 184 total yards of offense, gaining 100 yards on 11 receptions and rushing for 84 yards on four carries with two touchdowns on the afternoon to lead the Demon Deacons past the Blue Devils.

After Duke held an early 9-0 lead, the Demon Deacons reeled off 34 straight points before Duke scored touchdowns on four of six possessions beginning near the end of the third quarter, the last of which pulled the Blue Devils to within 41-36 with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter.

Down 34-9, Duke broke through with 3:24 left in the third quarter, as Lewis and Riley hooked up for their second score of the day on a two-yard pass that ended a six-play, 36-yard drive and changed the score to 34-15. The two-point conversion failed.

On Wake's next possession, Duke safety Chris Davis registered his fourth career interception that set the offense up at the Demon Deacons' 36-yard line. Duke capitalized with its second consecutive touchdown drive. Senior running back Justin Boyle pounded the ball in for a three-yard TD run. Lewis then hit Clifford Harris for the two-point conversion to make the score, 34-23, with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter.

Lewis then threw a 31-yard pass out to the left to Jomar Wright, who beat his man with a nice move and outran the rest of the Wake Forest secondary for Duke's third consecutive scoring drive. Lewis' run-pass option for the two-point conversion failed and the score moved to 34-29.

After Duke punted the ball away to turn the field around, Wake started a key drive from its own 16-yard line. The Blue Devil defense held, forcing a three-and-out before punt returner Leon Wright gave Duke excellent field position following a 26-yard return to the Wake Forest 47-yard line. However, the Devils failed to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs after throwing four consecutive incompletions.

On the next play, Moore struck again, taking a reverse down the right sideline for a 53-yard touchdown. The extra point made it, 41-29, Wake Forest.

Starting at its own 33-yard line with 2:18 on the clock, Duke's offense responded again, this time with Lewis hitting freshman Austin Kelly on a 19-yard TD pass – his first career scoring reception – to finish a 67-yard drive on 10 plays in just 1:13. Nick Maggio's extra point pulled the Blue Devils to 41-36 with 65 seconds left on the clock.

Duke pooch-kicked its kickoff down the right sideline but Wake Forest recovered at its own 27-yard line to essentially end the game. The Deacons ran out the clock to earn their eighth consecutive victory over the Blue Devils.

Quarterback Riley Skinner directed the Wake Forest offense efficiently all afternoon, connecting on 22-of-30 pass attempts for 221 yards and one interception.

Following a second-half outburst totaling 274 yards, the Blue Devils outgained Wake Forest, 386-336. Re'quan Boyette tallied a team-best 77 rushing yards on eight carries, including a 62 yard scamper in the third quarter while Jomar Wright finished the game with 84 yards on six receptions.

Duke jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after an errant snap from center sailed over Wake Forest punter Sam Swank for a 68-yard loss that counted statistically as a team rush. Swank caught up with the ball near the two-yard line and alertly tossed it out of the end zone for a safety.

The Blue Devils wasted no time in extending their lead with a two-play, 67-yard drive in 54 seconds. Sophomore quarterback Thaddeus Lewis connected with his favorite target Riley on a 68-yard touchdown strike down the right sideline. For Riley, it was his third consecutive game with a touchdown reception and his sixth this season, all coming in the last three games. Maggio's extra point made it 9-0 Duke with 11:29 remaining in the opening quarter.

Wake Forest then began its 34-point swing by answering on its next possession with a 10-play, 83-yard drive that was capped by a De'Angelo Bryant one-yard TD run. Swank drilled the extra point to make the score 9-7.

Swank's 46-yard field goal with 14:55 remaining in the second quarter gave Wake Forest its first lead, 10-9. The score topped off an 11-play, 61-yard drive that covered 3:40.

Wake Forest scored touchdowns on its final two possessions of the opening half to take a 15-point lead. Moore scored on a 21-yard run on a reverse to extend the lead and after Swank's extra point, Wake Forest led, 17-9, with 5:56 on the clock. After Duke went three downs and out, Wake Forest burned 4:18 off the clock on 10 plays and capped its 48-yard drive with a Micah Andrews' four-yard scoring run with just eight seconds remaining in the half.

At the end of the first half, Wake Forest outgained Duke, 223-112, and held the ball for 19:48 to just 10:12 for the Blue Devils.

Things got tougher for Duke midway through the third quarter after Lewis was intercepted by Alphonso Smith for a 30-yard TD return. It was Smith's fourth career interception for a touchdown and it made the score 34-9.

At halftime, Duke honored several members of its 1957 team that played in the Orange Bowl. The Blue Devils, under the direction of Bill Murray and team captain Hal McElhaney, went 6-3-2 that season and were ranked 14th in the final Associate Press poll. (Read feature writer Al Featherston's story on the 1957 team)

Duke returns to action Saturday, Oct. 13, at Wallace Wade Stadium with a noon kickoff vs. Virginia Tech. The game will be televised regionally by Lincoln Financial Sports.

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