Wake Forest outlasts Duke in OT

Published 7:51 am Sunday, November 2, 2008

By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM — He blocked a punt for a safety and set up a field goal with an interception. But for Wake Forest’s Alphonso Smith, the most critical points weren’t the ones the Demon Deacons scored because of him — but the ones he prevented.
Smith intercepted Thaddeus Lewis’ final pass near the goal line moments after Shane Popham kicked a 28-yard field goal in overtime that lifted the Demon Deacons past Duke 33-30 on Saturday.
Riley Skinner finished 18 of 31 for 232 yards with a touchdown and added a short scoring run for the Demon Deacons (5-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who blew a 12-point second-half lead but made it to overtime when Duke’s Nick Maggio missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired.
The Demon Deacons gained 14 yards on six plays in OT — keyed by a tipped pass to Devon Brown for 10 yards on third-and-10 — to set up Popham’s third field goal.
Then Smith ended the game on the second play of Duke’s possession, when he jumped in front of Lewis’ long pass to Eron Riley at about the 2 and carried into the end zone his second interception of the game and the school-record 19th of his career.
Lewis finished 18 of 26 for 229 yards with two touchdown passes to Clifford Harris for Duke (4-4, 1-3), and he led four consecutive scoring drives in the second half to rally the Blue Devils from a 19-7 deficit. They hooked up from 20 yards out to tie it at 30 with less than 7 minutes remaining.
That score came after Wake Forest seemed to have taken control. The Demon Deacons recovered Donovan Varner’s fumbled punt return at the 33 to set up Skinner’s 20-yard scoring pass to D.J. Boldin with about 12 1/2 minutes to play. They connected on the subsequent 2-point conversion to put the Demon Deacons ahead 30-23.
Smith blocked a punt for a safety and Popham — filling in for injured all-ACC kicker Sam Swank — added field goals of 24 and 44 yards.
Boldin caught eight passes for 89 yards and Brandon Pendergrass finished with 64 yards rushing and a 2-yard touchdown run for the Demon Deacons, who gained 344 total yards and turned them into touchdowns for a change.
They entered having scored just two offensive touchdowns in four previous league games, a big reason why they lost two straight before this one.
After Maggio kicked a 20-yard field goal, freshman Jay Hollingsworth gave Duke its first lead at 20-19 with a 6-yard touchdown run in the third and backup quarterback Zack Asack came in to throw a 2-yard scoring pass to Varner to cap the opening series for the Blue Devils, who gained 276 of their 376 total yards in the second half but couldn’t overcome four turnovers.
Instead, they wound up losing for the ninth straight time in the series and were denied their second two-game winning streak of the season and their first ACC road victory in five years.
Their second straight visit to Winston-Salem ended with a fouled-up field goal attempt at the buzzer costing them a win — two years ago, Wake Forest blocked Joe Surgan’s 28-yard field goal as time expired, a victory that propelled the Demon Deacons to the ACC title.
Duke 7 0 13 10 0 — 30
Wake Forest 9 3 10 8 3 — 33
First Quarter
Wake—Skinner 1 run (Popham kick), 12:07.
Duke—Varner 2 pass from Z.Asack (Maggio kick), 7:00.
Wake—Safety, 1:59.
Second Quarter
Wake—FG Popham 24, 11:52.
Third Quarter
Wake—Pendergrass 2 run (Popham kick), 8:45.
Duke—Harris 33 pass from Lewis (Maggio kick), 7:24.
Duke—Hollingsworth 6 run (pass failed), 2:47.
Wake—FG Popham 44, 1:22.
Fourth Quarter
Duke—FG Maggio 20, 12:23.
Wake—Boldin 20 pass from Skinner (Boldin pass from Skinner), 10:16.
Duke—Harris 20 pass from Lewis (Maggio kick), 6:48.
Wake—FG Popham 28.
Duke Wake
First downs 21 16
Rushes-yards 37-145 43-112
Passing 231 232
Comp-Att-Int 19-27-2 18-31-0
Return Yards 4 13
Punts-Avg. 3-22.3 4-36.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 3-43 6-73
Time of Possession 31:04 28:56
RUSHING—Duke, Hollingsworth 15-67, Jackson 12-63, Lewis 2-14, Harris 3-10, Z.Asack 2-3, Team 1-(minus 1), J.Williams 1-(minus 3), Varner 1-(minus 8). Wake Forest, Pendergrass 21-64, Skinner 14-36, Boldin 3-8, Rinfrette 3-5, Washington 2-(minus 1).
PASSING—Duke, Lewis 18-26-2-229, Z.Asack 1-1-0-2. Wake Forest, Skinner 18-31-0-232.
RECEIVING—Duke, Huffman 6-71, Riley 6-71, Harris 2-53, Varner 2-3, J.Williams 1-20, T.Robinson 1-11, Hollingsworth 1-2. Wake Forest, Boldin 8-89, Rinfrette 3-22, Mars.Williams 2-50, Pendergrass 2-18, Brown 2-16, Parker 1-37.