Saturday, July 20, 2024

Walk-off field goal lifts short-handed Duke to win over Wake Forest, keeps Blue Devils alive in ACC race

Wake Forest v Duke
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Duke kicker Todd Pelino drilled a 26-yard field goal as time expired to seal a 24-21 victory over Wake Forest Thursday night. The win gets the Blue Devils to bowl eligibility and keeps lingering ACC Championship Game hopes afloat. The Blue Devils pulled out the win despite getting out-gained 400-267. Duke true freshman quarterback Grayson Loftis entered Thursday with just five career passing attempts. He finished 7 of 19 passing for 86 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Wake Forest had a seven-point lead on three separate occasions, but Duke — down multiple starters — managed to hang around and keep the game within a score. The Blue Devils didn’t lead until Pelino’s final field goal. 

Duke has now won back-to-back games in the long-running series with Wake Forest, marking the first time the Blue Devils have strung together victories against the Demon Deacons since winning four in a row from 2012-15. Also with the victory… 

  • Duke is bowl bound for a second-straight year under coach Mike Elko, making the first time the Blue Devils have qualified for the postseason in consecutive seasons since 2017-18
  • Loftis emerges victorious in his first career NCAA start, allowing the Blue Devils to snap a two-game losing streak despite missing star quarterback Riley Leonard and second string signal caller Henry Belin IV
  • Duke isn’t dead yet in the race for the ACC Championship Game at 3-2 in league play, though it will need help having already suffered losses against Florida State and Louisville, the top two teams in the conference standings

Duke will look to stay in the win column and take down an in-state foe for a second-straight week when it return to actions at North Carolina. The Blue Devils then go on the road to Virginia in Week 12 before ending the regular season at home against Pittsburgh in Week 13. 

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