ACC Football: Wake Forest 24, Duke 23

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

Associated Press
DURHAM ó Stuck in neutral for the entire second half, Wake Forestís offense was in desperate need of a spark.
Thatís what Chris Givens does best.
Givens took a pass from Tanner Price 66 yards for a touchdown with 6:52 left, and that lifted Wake Forest to its 12th straight victory over Duke, 24-23 on Saturday.
Price finished 15 of 25 for 215 yards with two scoring passes to Givens for the Demon Deacons (5-2, 4-1 ACC). They let an early 17-0 lead vanish and allowed Duke to score on five consecutive drives before that quick strike put them back on top.
ěWe were stalling out. We just canít do that,î Price said. ěWe knew we needed to get down the field and score. It didnít matter how we were going to do it. We just knew we had to get points.î
Backup quarterback and short-yardage specialist Anthony Boone had two short touchdown runs for the Blue Devils (3-4, 1-2), who went up 23-17 on Will Snyderwineís third field goal of the day with 7:14 remaining.
That prompted a brief pow-wow on the Wake Forest sideline, led by Givens and offensive lineman Joe Looney.
ěI just really pulled everybody up and said, ëLook, weíve just got to go out on this next drive and give it all you got, because we donít want to be the first team in 12 years to lose to Duke,íî Givens said. ěWe knew that, and we knew we had to step up.î
Wake Forest struck back on its next play. Price fired a quick pass to Givens, who made a nifty move to get by slipping defender Zach Greene before dashing down the sideline and eluding a few defenders trying to push him out of bounds. That marked Givensí fourth touchdown catch of at least 45 yards this season.
ěWhen I caught it, I was just trying to get upfield,î Givens said. ěI got upfield, and saw I had some opportunities to make the play, and I just wanted to get in the end zone, and thatís what happened.î
Duke crossed midfield only once after that, moving to the Wake Forest 40 before Sean Renfreeís fourth-down pass for Donovan Varner sailed high with 1:20 left. Duke forced a three-and-out and got the ball back with 13 seconds left before Kenny Okoro intercepted Renfreeís last-gasp pass and allowed time to expire during the return.
ěIt comes down to finishing games,î Duke receiver Conner Vernon said. ěThey did it, and we didnít. Itís frustrating. I know weíre a lot better than that. We won the second half but not the game.î
Givens finished with six catches for 147 yards, after catching an earlier 26-yard touchdown pass from Price, and hit triple digits in yards receiving for the fourth straight game. Brandon Pendergrass finished with 43 yards rushing and a 2-yard touchdown.
Renfree completed his first 12 attempts and finished 28 of 45 for 213 yards for Duke, which was denied its first victory in the series since 1999. The Blue Devils were down 17 in the final minute of the first half before they reeled off 23 straight points.
ěIt was a tale of two halves and we couldnít overcome the poor job I did in the first half,î coach David Cutcliffe said. ěThe bottom line is that in all of the areas a head coach is responsible for, we were poor. We were more than poor, and they overcome both me and Wake Forest.î
Snyderwine kicked a 26-yard field goal with 4 seconds before the break, then added a 38-yarder midway through the third to cap the first of two straight 15-play scoring drives.
Booneís 1-yard scoring run on a fourth-and-goal pulled the Blue Devils to 17-13 with just over 2 minutes left in the third, and the redshirt freshman gave Duke its first lead when his 2-yard quarterback draw made it 20-17 with 11:35 remaining.
At that point, the Blue Devils had run 38 offensive plays in the second half to six ó and one total yard ó for Wake Forest. And after the Demon Deaconsí third straight three-and-out, Snyderwine kicked a 19-yard field goal to make it a six-point game.
Thatís when Price found Givens for exactly the kind of big play that has come to define this wacky intrastate series. In the last two games, the teams combined for nine touchdowns that covered at least 30 yards. Each team has scored at least 30 points in the last four meetings, and this marked the Demon Deaconsí eighth victory during their winning streak that was decided by one possession.
ěIt was not real good for my blood pressure today,î coach Jim Grobe said, ěbut it was good to get a win.î
The Associated Press
10/22/11 17:03