WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—With Duke almost certainly in need of a win to earn a bowl bid and extend its 2017 campaign, the Blue Devils have hung around through 30 minutes, but will have some work to do after the break.
At halftime, Wake Forest leads Duke 17-10 thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by Demon Deacon quarterback John Wolford and one from Blue Devil quarterback Daniel Jones. After throwing a interception on Duke's first series, quarterback Daniel Jones has settled down, completing 15-0f-28 attempts for 181 yards, including a 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Helm.
The Blue Devils were in the red zone late in the half after a fumble recovery with a chance to tie the game, but Jones threw a bizarre interception for his second pick of the game.
The Demon Deacons made quick work on their first series after Jones' pass was tipped and picked off—Wake Forest then needed just four plays and 77 seconds to cash in for an early 7-0 lead.
After a massive 74-yard boot pinned Duke inside its own 1-yard line a few minutes later, a Blue Devil punt gave the hosts great field possession at the Duke 29-yard line, and the Demon Deacons tacked on a field goal to extend their lead to 10.
The Blue Devils were able to respond the next drive, marching deep into Wake Forest territory before ultimately moving in the wrong direction. Austin Parker converted on a field goal and cut the lead to 10-3 before the end of the first quarter.
Although they picked up a first down on the final play of the opening quarter, the Blue Devils punted three plays later and then proceeded to go three-and-out on their next three series, as the Demon Deacons got a 43-yard touchdown reception from Alex Bachman to jump ahead 17-3.
Jones threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Helm to cut the deficit in half, but could not get Duke any closer, and Wake Forest will get the ball to start the second half.
Here are a few observations from the first half:
- Duke has utilized a fairly balanced offensive attack, featuring 28 passing plays and 18 rushes, but the visitors have just 11 first downs at intermission.
- Twice the Blue Devils have started drives inside their own two-yard line thanks to some miracle work from Wake Forest punter Dom Maggio. The Demon Deacon sophomore has punted five times for a net average of 54.2 yards.
- Jones nearly pulled off one of the rarer feats in football—completing a pass to himself after the ball was deflected at the line of scrimmage. The redshirt sophomore leapt above both sets of linemen to pull the ball down, but the play was ultimately ruled an interception after the officials ruled he never had possession before it got knocked out of his hands and into the arms of Demetrius Kemp.
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A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak."