ACC Football: Wake Forest 45, Duke 34
Associated PressDURHAM ó Riley Skinner knew he wouldn’t get a chance to sling passes in a bowl game, so he made the most of his throws in the regular-season finale.
Skinner passed for a career-high 372 yards and a school-record five touchdowns to help Wake Forest defeat Duke 45-34 on Saturday.
He completed 28 of 38 passes and did not throw an interception for the Demon Deacons (5-7, 3-5 ACC), who ended their season by snapping a five-game losing streak.
“It feels a lot better than anybody outside of our locker room can imagine,” said Skinner, who finished the year with single-season school records of 3,160 yards and 26 touchdown passes. “Just what we’ve gone through this year and the kind of games that we’ve had have been the toughest to lose.”
Devon Brown caught a pair of touchdown passes to help Wake Forest get its 10th consecutive win over Duke. Marshall Williams added eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown for the Demon Deacons, who suffered five losses this season by three points or fewer.
The victory allowed Wake Forest’s seniors, led by Skinner, to become the winningest senior class in school history.
“We’ve wanted that for six games now,” said Skinner, whose group had been tied with the 2008 senior class with 32 wins since Oct. 10. “Unfortunately, we had to wait this long for it ó but it’s worth it. To have that record and have that said about you as a class is pretty neat.”
Thaddeus Lewis passed for 387 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Blue Devils (5-7, 3-5), who ended the season on a four-game skid after starting 5-3.
Lewis, who added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, became the 60th player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to pass for 10,000 career yards. Donovan Varner, who caught two touchdown passes for Duke, set career highs with 11 catches for 174 yards.
Varner became the third player in Duke history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season, but it was Skinner who stole the show.
“We just couldn’t get to him,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “To his credit, he stepped up and did what he’s done his whole career.”
The Demon Deacons, who led 21-17 at halftime, pulled away in the third quarter.
Skinner sandwiched a pair of touchdown passes around a 33-yard field goal by Duke’s Will Snyderwine to give Wake Forest a 35-20 lead entering the fourth quarter.