DURHAM, NC – The Duke Blue Devils won it in dramatic fashion Thursday night when sophomore Todd Pelino nailed a 26-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Wake Forest, 24-21.The field goal was the first game-sealing win on the last possession of a contest since 2004 for the Blue Devils.
The win officially makes the Blue Devils bowl bound for consecutive seasons, with just three games left. With the win, head coach Mike Elko became the first Duke head coach to begin his career with back to back bowl eligible seasons.
The Blue Devils started freshman quarterback Grayson Loftis – the 3rd different starter in the last three games due to injuries to star quarterback Riley Leonard and backup Henry Belin. Head Coach Mike Elko stated Riley Leonard will be out for quite a bit due to a foot injury, opposite of the ankle injury he suffered earlier in the season against Notre Dame.
On the night Grayson Loftis finished 7 for 19, for 86 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It wasn’t a pretty stat line, but when the plays needed to be made in the 4th quarter the freshman game-managed and delivered. The defense forced two crucial fourth quarter turnovers, helping solidify a game-sealing field goal to lift the Blue Devils over the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest missed two field goals (27 yard and 39 yard) that cost the Demon Deacons six points in a defensive, cold front contest at Wallace Wade.
Defensive end Ryan Smith intercepted Matt Griffis with four minutes left in the ball game to help put the offense in a position to setup the game-winning field goal. The drive included a crucial pass interference call on 3rd and long to help extend the drive.
- Elko joins former Duke head coach David Cutcliffe as the only two coaches in program history to lead the Blue Devils to bowl eligibility in back-to-back seasons.
- Thursday’s victory marked the first time Duke had three different starting quarterbacks register a win in the same season in modern history.
- Loftis recorded his first career touchdown pass, a 29-yard strike to Jordan Moore in the fourth quarter.
- Jaquez Moore tallied his fourth rushing score of the season and the ninth of his career.
- Jordan Waters shifted into a tie for eighth all-time in program history for a single season following his 10th rushing score of the year.
- Waters tied Ace Parker, Billy Cox, Jay Calabrese and Randy Cuthbert.
- Duke’s 14-play, 75-yard, 7:10 drive was the longest touchdown drive for the Blue Devils this season in terms of time and plays.
- Sophomore cornerback Chandler Rivers recorded a blocked field goal in the first quarter for his second career blocked kick.
- Senior defensive tackle Aeneas Peebles registered his first career fumble recovery.
- Pelino extended his consecutive PAT streak to 51-straight kicks, moving him into seventh all-time in program lore.
Up next for Duke
Tobacco road battle at UNC, Saturday November 11.