Halftime Report: Duke 27, Wake Forest 14

The Blue Devils took little time Saturday night to rebound from last week's loss to rival North Carolina, jumping out to an early lead against the Demon Deacons and taking a 13-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

Duke wasted no time putting points on the board, marching 47 yards down the field on the game's opening drive for a touchdown. DeVon Edwards took the opening kickoff all the way to the Wake Forest 47-yard line to setup the short drive, capped off by quarterback Anthony Boone's four-yard touchdown scamper.

The Demon Deacons responded with a quick touchdown drive of their own, setup by John Armstrong's 56-yard kickoff return. Facing a fourth-and-nine from the Blue Devils' 27-yard line, freshman quarterback John Wolford found wideout Jared Crump in the back of the end zone to even the score.

The rest of the first quarter would put Wake Forest and its low-scoring offense in a deep hole.

Duke's next drive stalled after just one first down, but the Blue Devils capitalized on a heads-up special teams play to regain momentum. Crump fielded Will Monday's punt near his own 30-yard line but lost control of the ball before taking a big hit. Duke recovered the fumble and punched the ball into the end zone 5 plays later on an 8-yard run by freshman Shaun Wilson.

Wake Forest's special teams woes continued on the ensuing kickoff. Kicker Jack Willoughby squibbed the ball across the middle of the field and recovered his own onside kick at the Blue Devils' 48-yard line. Then Boone took the first snap of the drive and connected to Jamison Crowder for the 52-yard touchdown pass to put Duke up 21-7.

The Demon Deacons' special teams problems continued in the second quarter.

After Ross Martin capped a 14-play drive by drilling a 45-yard field goal, the 50th of his career, Wake Forest's ensuing drive stalled at its own 37-yard. The Demon Deacons' snap hit one of the punting unit's upbacks and fell to the turf, where Wake Forest managed to jump on the loose ball. Duke took over possession at the Demon Deacons' 30-yard line but could not take advantage of its best starting field position of the half, failing to convert a fourth-and-12 in Wake Forest territory.

The Blue Devils might have put the game out of reach with an entire half left to play by capitalizing on the Demon Deacons' punting mishap. But instead, Wake Forest followed Duke's turnover-on-downs with a seven-play, 68-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 17-yard completion to Cam Serigne in the end zone.

The Blue Devils struck back on their ensuing drive, going 55 yards in eight plays to setup a 28-yard field goal by Martin. Duke took over at its own 35-yard line with 1:43 left to play in the half and wasted no time marching the ball down the field into scoring position. The Blue Devils looked poised to score after Boone completed a third-and-short pass to Issac Blakeney for 35 yards all the way to the Wake Forest 10-yard line. But three incomplete passed killed the drive and led to Martin's field goal, his second of the game.

Duke headed into the locker room in much better shape than it did a week ago when it trailed the Tar Heels 28-7, but missed opportunities by the Blue Devils left the door wide open for a second half comeback by the Demon Deacons. Boone threw for 188 yards and no interceptions and the Blue Devil defense held Wake Forest to just 24 yards rushing.

Observations in the first half:

  • Boone threw for 188 yards and no interceptions in the first half, a marked improvement from his two-touchdown, three-interception performance throughout this last two games.
  • The ground game was quiet for both sides. Duke held Wake Forest to just 24 yards rushing, and the Blue Devils managed just 2.7 yards per carry.
  • Crowder continued to climb the record books in the first half, becoming just the fourth player in ACC history to record 3,500 receiving yards.
  • After last week's near-sellout crowd against North Carolina for a Thursday-night matchup in ESPN's prime time slot provided a great atmosphere for college football, Saturday night's matchup took place in front of a half-empty stadium.


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