Special Teams Mistakes Doom Duke In Winston

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – In a hard fought ACC battle that went back and forth the entire game the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-3, 3-2) snuck out of BB&T Field with a 33-30 overtime victory over the Duke Blue Devils (4-4, 1-3).

A 28-yard field goal in overtime from Shane Popham proved to the difference in a game that saw both schools exchange leads five times.

Duke had its chance to force a second overtime or win the game outright, but a second down and ten pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Eron Riley in the end zone was undercut by Alphonso Smith to seal the Wake Forest victory.

The Blue Devils had a chance to win in regulation taking over on downs at their own 33-yard line with 3:14 remaining following the Wake Forest offense electing to go for it on fourth down and five instead of trying a long field goal. Riley Skinner tried to hook up with Marshall Williams but the pass was broken up by Chris Rwabukamba. Lewis and the offense then moved the ball down to the Wake Forest 24 setting up a 41-yard game-winning field goal, but Nick Maggio's kick missed wide right as time expired in regulation with the score tied at 30.

Lewis ended the day 18-of-26 for 229 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite targets were Riley, and tight end Brett Huffman, who each caught six passes for 71 yards. Huffman's six catches were a career high for the sophomore. Both of Lewis's touchdown passes went to Clifford Harris.

Jay Hollingsworth and Tony Jackson led the way for the Blue Devils on the ground. Hollingsworth carried the ball 15 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, with majority of his yards coming in-between the tackles. Jackson rushed 12 times for 63 yards.

Adrian Aye-Darko, Jabari Marshall and Michael Tauiliili all recorded eight tackles for the Duke defense.

Duke got off to a slow start with Marshall fumbling the opening kickoff giving the Demon Deacons the football at the Duke 22. Wake Forest needed six plays and only 2:53 to punch the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Skinner going up 7-0 early in the first.

The Duke offense rolled out onto the field for their first series with 12:00 left and responded with a 10-play 74-yard scoring drive of their own to tie the ball game at 7-7. Zack Asack entered the ball game on third and goal from the two faking a run to the left before finding Donovan Varner in the end zone for the freshman's first career touchdown. Thaddeus Lewis was a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive connecting with Brett Huffman for three receptions. Huffman caught passes of nine, 14 and 22 yards on the drive. Jackson added 27 yards rushing on 4 carries. Wake Forest, on their second possession of the ball game, needed only one play to move the football into Duke territory on a 22-yard completion from Skinner to D.J. Boldin. But once inside the red zone the Duke defense held strong. On a fourth down and three from the five Skinner took off up the middle before being brought down by Aye-Darko just inches short of a first down giving Duke the ball deep in their own territory. Starting the drive from their own three, the Blue Devils moved the ball forward to the 10 before sending out the punting unit on the field. Kevin Jones had his kicked blocked by Smith in the end zone for a safety. The Demon Deacons started the ensuing drive following the safety punt from the Duke 30-yard line with the Blue Devil defense holding the Wake offense to a 24-yard field goal from Shane Popham. Making tackles on the drive were Vince Oghobaase, Greg Akinbiyi, Tauiliili, Vincent Rey and Ayanga Okpokuwuruk. Both defenses held strong over the final 11:52 of the half with the Blue Devils going into the locker room trailing 12-7. Lewis at the half was an impressive 8-of-10 for 67 yards with Huffman and Riley each catching three. Jackson led the way on the ground picking up 37 yards on eight carries. Glenn Williams stripped the football from Skinner on the Demon Deacons opening possession of the second half with Kinney Rucker scooping the football off the turf and diving forward for a few extra yards. On the following play though Lewis was able to avoid a sack but threw a ball intended for Riley that was intercepted by Smith giving the Demon Deacons the football back at the Duke 46. Wake Forest used the next 3:59 taking the ball down to the Duke 2 before Brandon Pendergrass plunged forward outstretching the football over the goal line for the 2-yard touchdown going up 19-7. The Blue Devils didn't waste any time on their following possession moving the football 55 yards, after a kick return by Marshall gave Duke field position at their 45, needing only 1:21 to score their first touchdown since the first quarter. Lewis hooked up with Robinson in the flat, who turned up field untouched for the 34 yards score pulling Duke within five, 19-14. Lewis also connected with Johnny Williams, on the drives first play, on quick pass that the freshman turned up field for 20 yards. Following the defense forcing their first three and out of the Wake Forest offense, the Duke offense built on the momentum from the previous drive moving the football 70 yards over 3:26 for the go-ahead touchdown. After calling a timeout from the Wake Forest 27, the Blue Devils went with the physical running style of Jay Hollingsworth over the next four plays with the freshman getting in the end zone on a 6-yard run. Hollingsworth rushed for 39 yards on the drive. Asack entered the ball game to attempt a two-point conversion, but the quarterback was pressured into an incomplete pass.

With the Blue Devils leading 20-19, Joe Surgan and the special teams tried an onside kick. Williams recovered the kick at the Duke 41, but catch-kick interference was called giving the Demon Deacons the football at the Duke 26. The defense remained stout forcing the Wake offense back a yard before Popham connected on a 44-yard field goal to put the Demon Deacons back on top 22-20.

With 12:23 remaining, the Blue Devils answered with a 19-yard field goal off the foot of Nick Maggio giving Duke a 23-22 lead. Duke held onto the football for nearly four minutes with the key play being a 52-yard strike down field to Riley from the arm of Lewis.

The Demon Deacons managed just one first down on their next series before punting the ball back to the Blue Devils, but Varner was unable to handle the low line drive punt. Greg Bechtel pounced on the football for the Demon Deacons giving them the ball at the Duke 33.

Skinner needed only two plays to find the end zone completing a 20 yard pass to Boldin for the go-ahead touchdown. Skinner hooked up with Boldin again for the 2-point conversion try giving the Demon Deacons a 30-23 lead with 10:16 remaining.

Duke tied the ball game with 6:48 remaining with Lewis finding Harris on a wheel route out of the backfield for the 20-yard touchdown. Hollingsworth supplied more hard-nosed running on the drive picking up 18 yards on 4 carries.


Blue Devil Digest Top Stories