2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 8 - Wake Forest at Duke
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Oct. 22 Wake Forest 24 … at Duke 23
CFN Analysis: 5-2. That’s all that matters no matter how the team got there and no matter how things might look. It was a struggle to get by a mediocre Duke team, but in a game that could’ve easily have gone the other way, the Demon Deacons came through with what might be their signature play of the season on Tanner Price’s bomb to Chris Givens for the win. The running game didn’t work and the passing game didn’t click outside of two scoring passes to Givens, but the defense did a nice job and the offense came through with a decent enough second half to get out with a win. Now the Demon Deacons just need one more win to get to a bowl, and considering how bad last year was and with so many question marks going into this season, that’s a major turnaround no matter what happens with so many tough games over the new few weeks. If Wake can get one win at North Carolina, Notre Dame, and at Clemson, it’ll be a positive.
The passing game worked early and the defense came up with one of its best games of the season, but the secondary failed late when it needed to keep everything in front. The run defense was terrific, holding the Demon Deacons to 90 yards and a touchdown, but it gave up two touchdown passes to Chris Givens and didn’t do enough in the second half. The D was strong, for the most part, on third downs, and the offense converted 9-of-22 chance and 4-of-5 fourth down tries to hold on to the ball for over 38 minutes, but the one breakdown in the secondary in the final minutes was the difference. This was a winnable game that the team needed to pull out with Virginia Tech and a road trip to Miami up next.
(AP) DURHAM, N.C. -- Tanner Price's 66-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens with 6:52 left 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 Atlantic Coast Conference). They let an early 17-0 lead vanish and allowed Duke to score on five consecutive drives before quickly retaking the lead.
Backup quarterback and short-yardage specialist Anthony Boone had two short touchdown runs for the Blue Devils (3-4, 1-2). They went up 23-17 on Will Snyderwine's third field goal of the day with 7:14 remaining.
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 left sideline for the go-ahead score.
Duke crossed midfield only once after that, moving to the Wake Forest 40 before Sean Renfree's 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 Renfree's last-gasp pass and allowed time to expire during the return.
Givens finished with six catches for 147 yards, after catching an earlier 26-yard touchdown pass from Price. 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. 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.
Boone's 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 -- and one total yard -- for Wake Forest. And after the Demon Deacons' third straight three-and-out, Snyderwine kicked a 19-yard field goal to make it a six-point game.
That's 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.
When this one started, it sure looked like the Demon Deacons would have no trouble hitting that total, going up 7-0 roughly 10 minutes in when Price found a diving Givens near the right edge of the end zone.
Four plays after Price's 23-yard run on fourth-and-1, Jimmy Newman kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it a 10-0. Pendergrass then capped an 86-yard drive with his short scoring run that put Wake Forest up by three scores.
Wake Forest (4-2) at Duke (3-3) Oct. 22, 12:30, ACC Network
Here’s The Deal … While a Wake Forest trip to Duke might not amount to much in terms of the ACC divisional races, it’s going to be a huge deal for the participants. Coming off losses against two of the league’s signature programs, both schools need this game in Durham in order to bolster their postseason hopes. The Demon Deacons were unable to run with Virginia Tech a week ago in a 38-17 drubbing at home. Still, this has been a season that’s filled with promise, a bounce back campaign for head Jim Grobe’s kids after going 3-9 in 2010.
The Blue Devils endured a similar fate in Week 7, losing to Florida State, 41-16, to snap a three-game winning streak. Duke realizes that ending its 17-year bowl drought will require a few victories in conference games, which doesn’t happen on a regular basis. That quest will begin with this weekend’s game at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: Yeah, the Deacons got steamrolled last Saturday, but the offense has been consistent throughout the year. With Tanner Price at the controls, they boast the nation’s 24th-ranked passing game, and scored at least 34 points in wins over NC State and Florida State. Price has done a nice job of spreading the ball around, though RB Josh Harris and WR Chris Givens have been his favorites among the supporting cast. Harris, who’s hoping to return from a hamstring injury, and Givens, who leads the ACC in catches, are itching to face a Duke D that ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories.
Why Duke Might Win: When the Blue Devils were winning three straight games at the end of September, it was the passing game that was leading the way. On the right arm of QB Sean Renfree, they’re averaging almost 300 yards a game through the air. Led by Conner Vernon, four receivers have already caught at least 20 balls to Renfree a multitude of options. The Wake Forest pass defense has been a sore spot this season, yielding nearly twice as many touchdown passes and interceptions made. Plus, the Deacons’ inability to get to the quarterback will afford No. 19 all the time he needs to check down until he finds the open man.
What To Watch Out For: If Harris is a scratch for a second straight week, Wake Forest is confident about its depth in the backfield. Senior Brandon Pendergrass has played a lot of football in Winston –Salem, rushing for 528 yards in 2008. A steady and at times explosive runner, he went for 80 yards on 21 carries in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech. The drop-off would be minimal, especially versus a Duke defense giving up 4.4 yards per carry. Blue Devils defender Matt Daniels is a very nice player, but it’s always a concern when a safety has nearly twice as many stops as the next top tackler.
What Will Happen: It’ll be back to business for Wake Forest, which was playing extremely well before hitting a wall last week. The Deacons have too much offense for a Duke program that usually bows in the face of capable attacks. Price will seize control of the game in the second half, showing why he’s on the verge of becoming the program’s next version of Riley Skinner under center. He’ll outplay Renfree to get Wake back on track, and help bring his team to within one victory of bowl-eligibility.
CFN Prediction: Wake Forest 31 … Duke 23
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