LIVE BLOG: Duke 34, Wake Forest 45 (FINAL)

Duke 34, Wake Forest 45 (2:30 4th): Maggio's kick goes out of bounds, and that (I'm serious this time... I think) should actually do it.

Duke 34, Wake Forest 45 (2:31 4th): Scratch that... have to give the Blue Devils credit for not giving up here.  Varner takes the drag route into the endzone, and Duke finds itself down two possessions again.  Expect an onside kick here.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 45 (3:00 4th): Desmond Scott does his best to show Duke fans what to expect next season with an explosive kick return down to Wake Forest's 25... if only he could've outran the kicker.  Duke will take over, but it looks as if it would take unparalleled craziness for Duke to pull off the comeback here.  Barring that, we're going to call it a day here at the SportsBlog... check back with us and on Monday for more coverage of the end of this season.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 45 (3:26 4th): The play is overturned, and Duke is faced with a 3rd-and-10.  In obvious four down territory, Duke is content to pick up eight to get to a more manageable fourth and 2, but the fourth down pass is intercepted by Alex Frye (more like ripped out of the hands of Vernon, but the result is the same) and returned for the touchdown to put the final nail in Duke's coffin.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 38 (4:03 4th): It appears that Conner Vernon just tried the hook and lateral to Desmond Scott, but the result was just a lame-duck fumble and Scott had to dive on to maintain possession.  The play is currently under review, in all probability to see if Vernon ever had possession for the reception.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 38 (4:30 4th): Duke nearly sacked Skinner on the critical 3rd down, which would've forced Wake Forest out of field goal range.  Instead, Leon Wright was forced to make a solid pass break up in the end zone to force fourth down.  But the field goal attempt is true, and the drive also took more than five minutes off the clock.  Duke now has less than five minutes to score twice... but with two time outs remaining, there is still a chance if Duke can get a quick strike.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 35 (4:41 4th): Duke calls a timeout to plan its strategy for this critical 3rd-and-8.  A stop here would force a lengthy, 40+ yard field goal, and give the Blue Devil offense a chance.  A conversion could quash Duke's last breath here.  Stay tuned.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 35 (5:00 4th): Duke's inability to get pressure on Skinner like they did early in this contest is proving to be problematic, as Skinner is tearing through the Duke secondary.  Indeed, it took him only two plays to make than 1st-and-20 vanish, and now the Demon Deacons have first-and-10 inside the 30.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 35 (7:00 4th): The Blue Devil fans make a little noise at the behest of the Duke bench, but to no avail, as Skinner has all the time in the world to throw for a first down.  The Demon Deacons are using their short passing game to keep the clock moving and are picking up solid chunks of yardage with each completion, as they are now in Duke territory.

Duke, though, gets another break as a long run into the red zone is called back thanks to a holding penalty.  Indeed, a possible first and goal has now become a first and 20 at the 49.

Duke 27, Wake Forest 35 (9:45 4th): A Wake Forest player has been down on the field for at least five minutes as we await the extra point attempt, and is just now walking off the field under his own power.  Must've just been a jarring hit.  Regardless, Snyderwine knocks the PAT through.

Duke 26, Wake Forest 35 (9:45 4th): The referees get it right after the review, and the ball is spotted at the one yard line, 1st-and-goal.  But the Blue Devils are floundering in their goal line offense, although they are bailed out by an offsides penalty on Wake Forest, putting the ball half a yard closer to the goal (as the announcer in the press box just stated, half the distance to the goal "isn't much".)  Lewis takes advantage with a one yard sneak for the touchdown, and all of a sudden its a one possession game.  Is this reminding anyone else of last season's season ending contest versus North Carolina when Duke was down 8 late?

Duke 26, Wake Forest 35 (10:43 4th): Well, Duke finally got the pass interference call it has wanted all game, ironically on the one play Duke actually made the catch.  Still, the acrobatic display by Vernon gets Duke into the red zone, and Thad Lewis is now the 60th player in NCAA history to throw for 10,000 yards in his career.

Vernon then (apparently) finishes what he started by stretching into the endzone, but it appears he was out of bounds before the ball actually crossed the plane.  We await the verdict from the referees.

Duke 20, Wake Forest 35 (11:58 4th): Don't look know, but Duke is slowly but surely driving, as the Blue Devils approach midfield after the Killer V's get a couple of first downs.

Duke 20, Wake Forest 35 (13:46 4th): Duke nearly gets the break it needs as Wake Forest fumbles the ball, but quickly recovers.  The Duke defense holds, though, forcing fourth down and a field goal attempt.

And now Duke gets it break, as the Wake Forest field goal attempt is wide left.  Duke remains down only two possessions with under 14 minutes to go in the season.

Duke 20, Wake Forest 35 (0:00 3rd): Wake Forest appears to be methodically slowing the pace of their offense, and the game, now, hoping to burn enough time off the clock to prevent Duke's own explosive offense from getting back into the game.  Rather than throwing deep, the Demon Deacons appear to be focusing more on runs and short passes, at least early on in this drive.  Pendergrass is taking advantage of his increased workload, jitterbugging through the Blue Devils defense for a ten yard carry.  On the next play, a screen to Marshall Williams goes for another first down.  The Blue Devil defense looks clearly gassed, as the linebackers all have their hands on their hips and substitutions are becoming more prevalent.  Indeed, the defensive line is having more and more trouble getting pressure on Skinner, who responded there by hitting his check-down running back for another first down.  As the third quarter ends, Duke faces a two touchdown deficit and Wake Forest has the ball almost in the red zone.  Without a turnover soon, this game could get out of hand for the Blue Devils.

Duke 20, Wake Forest 35 (3:19 3rd): Duke's offense is picking off right where it left off though, mixing solid five yard runs with quick passes over the middle to quickly enter Wake Forest territory.  But Lewis is once again missing passes he should be completing in his sleep, overthrowing open receivers on back to back plays and leading to a 3rd-and-10.  On third down, a pass to Vernon falls incomplete after Okoro appeared to hit Vernon early again, but with no call once again.  A Kevin Jones punt is bombed into the end zone, and Wake forest takes over at their own 20 once again.

Duke 20, Wake Forest 35 (5:51 3rd): Huge mistake by the Blue Devils, as Maggio's kickoff goes out of bounds, giving Wake Forest fantastic field position at their own 40 yard line.  And Skinner and the Demon Deacons take advantage right away, as Williams breaks free streaking over the middle, fumbles after a hit from a recovering Leon Wright, but recovers in the end zone for the touchdown.  Duke's secondary continues to have trouble against the speedy Wake Forest receivers, and one has to wonder why Duke continues to not have its safeties back deep in coverage to try to prevent these big plays.  Regardless, Duke now finds itself down two touchdowns and apparently unable to stop the Wake Forest attack.

Duke 20, Wake Forest 28 (7:10 3rd): Duke also is trying to mix things up with the run, as Desmond Scott rushes for 10 yards on 1st down to move the chains.  But Duke's passing attack continues to find the middle clogged up with Wake Forest defenders thanks to their switch to more zone coverage.  But after a Wake Forest linebacker tripped on second down, Austin Kelly was able to reak free over the middle on yet another slant for a first down, and on the subsequent play Varner found himself open on his favorite play, the crossing route, to get Duke to the Demon Deacon 21.

An apparent fumblerooski resulted in a five yard gain, and a flag was waved off as Duke enters the red zone.  As the Wake Forest coaching staff complains to the referees, for the first time the Duke fans start to make some noise with the "Lets Go Duke" chant.  Their energy almost proved counterproductive, though, as a dangerous pass by Lewis across his body to the endzone nearly resulted in an interception, but was instead dropped by the receiver in the end zone.  After the third down pass is batted down, Duke is forced to settle for a 33 yard Snyderwine field goal to make it once again a one possession game.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 28 (9:46 3rd): Wake Forest seems to be making a concerted effort early in the second half to put more emphasis on the run, perhaps to try to bleed the clock.  The speedy Pendergrass just exploded through a whole for a ten yard gain, but on 1st down Harris was stuffed by Rey and Oghobaase for a one yard loss.  On third down, though, a perfectly executed throw-back screen to fullback Mike Rinfrette goes for a huge gain, putting Wake forest in the red zone.  On the subsequent play, a short pass to Harris over the middle goes for the touchdown, making this a two possession game.

It seems like the Blue Devils are always an inch away against Wake Forest: on that long screen pass, Duke defensive tackle John Drew would have intercepted the lofted pass if he was only an inch taller.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (12:50 3rd): Duke's offense stalls, though, as a 3rd down pass to Conner Vernon falls incomplete after cornerback Kenny Okoro broke up the pass.  The Duke sideline certainly thought Okoro hit Vernon early, but regardless the Blue Devils are forced to punt the ball back to the Demon Deacons, who will take over short of their own 40.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (13:26 3rd): Wake Forest starts with possession to begin the second half.  After a few solid plays, a deep pass on third down to Marshall Williams is broken up thanks to tough coverage by safety Matt Daniels.  Duke takes over at their own 20 after one of its best defensive series of the game thus far.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (0:00 2nd): A sack by Ayanga Okpokowuruk quashing Wake's chances of adding any points before half.  Duke must be happy to head into the locker room only down four facing Wake Forest's explosive offense, especially considering the Blue Devil offense has looked inconsistent throughout this first half.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (1:19 2nd): The drive stalls, however, as solid man coverage by the Demon Deacon secondary forces Lewis to check down to Scott out of the backfield, leading to a fourth down.  In other news, for the first time in school history Duke now has three players with more than 50 receptions: Austin Kelly, Donovan Varner, and Conner Vernon.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (2:00 2nd): The Killer V's are buzzing now... back to back short passes to Vernon and Varner earn Duke a first down as the Blue Devils approach midfield.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (3:40 2nd): Duke's defense forces a three-and-out after stuffing a couple of Wake Forest rushing attempts.  A monster punt by Popham and a shoestring tackle on Leon Wright pin Duke back inside its own 25.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (5:21 2nd): Snyderwine's long field goal has me reminiscing about Michigan's Hayden Epstein, who could kick the ball to the moon (just like Charles Woodson can jump 15 feet in the air).  The Wolverines certainly could've used a healthy Thad Lewis last weekend against Ohio State, though... oh, my bad, its Duke that's playing, isn't it?  Anyway, Maggio kicks a touchback, and Wake Forest takes over at their own 20.

Duke 17, Wake Forest 21 (5:21 2nd): As predicted, the ruling on the field stands, and Duke takes over with a first down.  Another handoff out of that pistol formation to Hollingsworth proves successful, as Hollingsworth scampers for another five yards.

Not quite sure how there was no pass interference call on third down, as Austin Kelly appeared to be manhandled in the end zone and then was pushed away from the ball, causing his divind effort to fall short.  Will Snyderwine is able to kick a career-long 51 yard field goal to salvage some points for the Blue Devils after a fairly impressive 13 play drive.  Snyderwine's 16th field goal on the year ties a Duke single season record... certainly a far-cry from the special teams issues that have plagued Duke over the past few seasons.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 21 (7:04 2nd): No sooner said than done: three straight solid runs by the Blue Devils earn a first down as they cross midfield.

interesting play call on 3rd-and-4, however, as Hollingsworth takes the handoff out of the shotgun (according to my colleague Jason Palmatary, its the pistol formation... whatever) and just barely stretches for the first down.  But the play is now under review to check the spot of the ball, but one has to think it would be difficult to find "indisputable video evidence" to overturn the call.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 21 (9:00 2nd): After a couple of failed passes to the outside, Duke returns to its bread and butter on third down, as a slant route down the middle to Austin Kelly goes for a first down and a 14 yard gain.  One has to like Duke's strategy to try and mix up the play calling, but when positive yardage is only coming over the middle one has to worry whether Wake Forest will eventually grow wise to the Blue Devils' strategy.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 21 (10:50 2nd): Somehow Devon Brown found a hole in Duke's zone defense, as he was all alone in the right corner of the end zone for another touchdown reception from Skinner.  The difference on that drive for the Demon Deacons was the emergence of a solid running game, which Duke is now forced to respect, making it even harder to adequately cover the plethora of talented Wake Forest receivers.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (12:00 2nd): Wake Forest is starting to get its rushing attack heated up after back to back solid runs by Josh Adams, one for a first down.  Duke is having trouble recognizing the run from Wake Forest's shotgun look, especially as most of their running plays are coming off of quick pitches as opposed to handoffs.  Skinner is adding his own feet into the mix too with a six yard scramble on first down, despite a near-close-line tackle by Kinney Rucker.  But the Demon Deacons are now in the red zone with a first down on the 10 yard line.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (15:00 2nd): Both quarterbacks recorded solid 1st halves in the 1st quarter today: Skinner was 7-for-10 for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while Lewis was 7-for-12 for 153 yards and two touchdowns.  Wake Forest Takes over near mid-field to start the second quarter.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (15:00 2nd): Jay Hollingsworth makes his presence felt for the first time in recent memory, gaining eight yards on a rush to the outside.  But pressure on third down forces Lewis to throw the ball away, and Duke punts the ball away to end the 1st quarter.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (0:34 1st): Leon Wright just made one of his best plays of the year (and yes, I'm including those interceptions that fell right into his lap).  On 3rd and 10, Marshall Williams got away with a little push off on a curl route with Wright in coverage, but he quickly recovered to hit Williams just as the ball was coming in, forcing an incompletion and a fourth down punt.  The Blue Devils were able to avoid a penalty on the punt, and they take over on their own 11 yard line.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (1:33 1st): Duke's secondary continues to be burned, as Givens once again found himself wide open for a long pass from Skinner.  Wake now seems to be getting their own running game going a little bit after a 10 yard run on 1st down, and all of the sudden the Demon Deacons are in Blue Devil territory.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (4:24 1st): Lewis has all the time in the world to pass today, and there missed a wide open Varner once again on a crossing route.  Although the stats are still there, Lewis has certainly missed a few passes that he normally makes, and one has to wonder whether his injured ankle is bothering him more than he has let on.  After pressure on third down leads to an incompletion, Kevin Jones comes in to punt it away, pinning Wake Forest on its own six yard line.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (5:00 1st): A rarity for Duke: Desmond Scott runs the ball up the middle for a four yard gain and a first down on 2nd-and-2.  Duke proceeds to go back to the bubble-screen (a play favored by the great Lloyd Carr, I might add), and Conner Vernon breaks multiple tackles to turn what could have been a loss into an eight yard gain.  Another carry by Scott earns Duke another 1st down, and now Duke is driving, albeit a bit more "methodically" than its first two drives.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 14 (7:21 1st): Skinner just made Duke pay for giving him back the ball.  As Chris Givens just blew by the Duke secondary for a 54 yard touchdown reception.  When Duke has gotten pressure on Skinner and penetrated the Wake Forest line the Demon Deacon offense has been stagnant, at best.  But when Skinner has time to throw, as he did on that last touchdown, it appears Duke's secondary is outmatched.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 7 (8:23 1st): Wake Forest's rushing attack appears to be as powerful (sarcasm implied) as Duke's, as running back Brandon Pendergrass was stuffed for a loss on 2nd down.  The Blue Devil defense holds on 3rd and 10, but on the punt Kenny Anunike leveled Wake Forest punter Shane Popham, resulting in a roughing the kicker penalty and giving possession back to the Demon Deacons.

Duke 14, Wake Forest 7 (11:10 1st): Big plays are coming in bunches early here, as Lewis hits Austin Kelly on a slant route, and Kelly gallops down the middle of the field for a 62 yard touchdown pass.  The Blue Devils clearly are trying to attack the middle of the Demon Deacon defense.  Lewis already has 130 yards passing this game less than four minutes into the contest.  Indeed, until either team's secondary decides to show up, it looks like we've got an old fashioned shootout on our hands here in Durham.

Duke 7, Wake Forest 7 (12:21 1st): The ruling on the field stands, a call the Duke coaching staff must not be pleased about.  Regardless, these two offenses are showing their explosiveness early, as two long touchdown passes have led to a 7-7 tie with less than three minutes off the clock.

Duke 7, Wake Forest 0 (12:21 1st): Although Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner is known more for his arm than his legs, the Demon Deacons open their first offensive drive with an option, but the pitch to Josh Adams is stopped for only three yards.  On the next play, a linebacker blitz up the middle nearly lead to a sack, but Skinner was able to get the pass off, forcing Chris Rwabukamba to make an athletic pass break up.  But on third down Skinner was able to dance around in the pocket once again and convert the first down.

But now it appears we have a little controversy brewing.  On the next play, Skinner rolled out right and threw a strike to receiver Devon Brown in the right corner of the end zone for an apparent touchdown.  However, Brown was clearly out of bounds on the play, and in fact ran into the end zone from out of bounds.  Unless the referee rules that Brown was forced out of bounds, he should be deemed an ineligible receiver and the touchdown should be reversed, and indeed the play is currently under review.

Duke 7, Wake Forest 0 (13:56 1st): Duke gets off to a quick start, as an awful kickoff is returned by Patrick Kurunwune up to the Duke 40.  On the next play, Donovan Varner was wide open down the middle of the field, but in an apparent miscommunication he turned to the left while Lewis threw it to his right shoulder, and the Blue Devils failed to capitalize on an early opportunity for a big play.

The two quickly make up for the blown play, however, as this time Lewis hits Varner on a crossing route for a 56 yard touchdown pass.  The touchdown reception is Varner's seventh on the year, which moves him into tenth place on Duke's single season touchdown reception list.  Meanwhile, Lewis is now tied for fourth in ACC history for touchdown passes in a career.

It looks as if Duke is going to stick to the same game plan it has all year: use the speed of its receiving corps on crossing routes over the middle for big plays and shorter screen passes in leu of a running attack.

Duke 0, Wake Forest 0 (15:00 1st): Duke's captains today are seniors Thaddeus Lewis and Vincent Rey, as Wake Forest wins the toss and elects to defer.  The crowd today is certainly disappointing, as the student section is all but empty and many other sections are nearly empty as well.  It would be shocking if there are even 15,000 in attendance today, if even that.

Duke 0, Wake Forest 0 (15:00 1st): Welcome to the final Football Saturday in Wallace Wade Stadium this fall, and the last game for the 2009 edition of the Blue Devils.  Yes, Duke's bowl hopes were quashed last weekend against Miami, but that doesn't mean this game lacks meaning for Duke.  A win would give Duke a .500 record, at 6-6, for the first time since 1994.  (It would also give Duke a better record than the Michigan Wolverines for the second straight season, which is both elating and heartbreaking for this Wolverine).

As the seniors are recognized on the field in their final contest as collegiate athletes, the crowd slowly trickles into Wallace Wade.  It will be interested to see how the crowd will react today without a significant student presence thanks to the Thanksgiving Break.  Regardless, its a sunny, crisp fall day in Durham, a great day for some football.


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