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GAMEDAY College Football

Duke 34, Wake Forest 31

By BRENNAN DOHERTY
Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. - Riley Leonard threw for a career-best 391 yards and four touchdowns and Duke used a late touchdown to close out the regular season with a 34-31 victory over Wake Forest.

Leonard, who completed 29-of-41 passes, connected with Sahmir Hagans for the game-winning score, a 20-yard reception with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Hagans finished with two touchdowns and set career-highs in receptions and receiving yards, as did Duke's Jalon Calhoun. As a duo, Hagans and Calhoun accounted for 19 receptions and 313 receiving yards. With the win, the Blue Devils (8-4, 5-3 ACC) snapped a three-game losing streak in their series with the Demon Deacons and recorded their first eight-win regular season since 2014.

"I think we put down a marker about how long it's going to take for Duke football to get competitive," said first-year Duke coach Mike Elko, who inherited a program that went 5-18 in 2020 and 2021.

Wake Forest (7-5, 3-5) quarterback Sam Hartman completed 26-of-42 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns but was intercepted late in the fourth by Duke defensive back Darius Joiner. Demon Deacon wide receiver A.T. Perry had eight catches for 87 yards and a score in the loss.

THE TAKEAWAY

Wake Forest: In late October, the Demon Deacons were 6-1 and ranked 10th nationally. Coach Dave Clawson's team then lost four of its final five regular-season contests, and defense was once again a big issue for Wake Forest on Saturday. Wake Forest now has given up 30-plus points in four straight games, and Duke had multiple offensive playmakers with career days. The Demon Deacons surrendered five plays of at least 20 yards, including Duke's game-winning score.

"We had a chance on defense to get a stop, and it's been our Achilles' heel all year - our inability to defend the deep ball," Clawson said. "We've struggled all year defending the deep ball and a disappointing way to end the season.

Duke: The Blue Devils closed out first-year coach Elko's first regular season in grand fashion. Punctuated by Leonard and Hagan's big days, Duke once again illustrated their impressive turnaround after going 3-9 last year and showed that there's a lot of young talent around for the years to come as well.

ELKO LEADS TURNAROUND

Few people expected Elko's first regular season coaching the Blue Devils ending with him tying the program record for most wins by a first-year coach. Yet, Elko and his staff have found a way to take an offense and defense that ranked 102nd and 127th in scoring last year, respectively, and vastly improve both groups. Entering Saturday, Duke ranked 34th in scoring offense and 35th in scoring defense.

"The thing that stands out the most to me is we go into every game expecting to win," Leonard said. "And trusting that if we do our job, we're going to win. I know that in years past, some guys predetermined things in their heads, but this year, there was not one game that we went into thinking we were going to lose."

Even in defeat, Duke has been competitive, with each of its four losses coming by a score or less.

Added Calhoun, a senior who had career-bests in catches (11) and receiving yards (174): "We always knew we could be special. It was just putting the right pieces together and getting the culture back where it needed to be."

November 26, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter WakeDuke
Duke FG 7:01 Todd Pelino 42 yd FG 0 3
Wake TD 2:56 Justice Ellison 6 yd run (Matthew Dennis kick) 7 3
Second Quarter WakeDuke
Duke TD 14:16 Sahmir Hagans 30 yd pass from Riley Leonard (Todd Pelino kick) 7 10
Duke TD 9:04 Jalon Calhoun 46 yd pass from Riley Leonard (Todd Pelino kick) 7 17
Wake TD 6:02 Donavon Greene 8 yd pass from Sam Hartman (Matthew Dennis kick) 14 17
Wake FG 1:50 Matthew Dennis 32 yd FG 17 17
Duke FG 0:14 Todd Pelino 32 yd FG 17 20
Third Quarter WakeDuke
Duke TD 5:24 Jordan Moore 30 yd pass from Riley Leonard (Todd Pelino kick) 17 27
Wake TD 2:57 Taylor Morin 17 yd pass from Sam Hartman (Matthew Dennis kick) 24 27
Fourth Quarter WakeDuke
Wake TD 12:31 A.T. Perry 6 yd pass from Sam Hartman (Matthew Dennis kick) 31 27
Duke TD 2:04 Sahmir Hagans 20 yd pass from Riley Leonard (Todd Pelino kick) 31 34
Team Stats
  Wake Forest Duke
First downs 26 26
  Rushing 9 8
  Passing 17 16
  Penalty 0 2
3rd Down Efficiency 9-15, 60% 6-13, 46%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 0-1, 0%
Rushes-Yards 32-106 30-116
Passing Yards 347 391
Return Yards 29 120
Completions-Attempts-Int 26-42-1 29-41-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 3--18 1--7
Punts 4 3
Punts-Average 30 43.7
Fumbles Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 3-24 5-45
Time of Possession 23:10 36:50
Wake Forest Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Hartman 26 42 347 3 1
Duke Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
R. Leonard 29 41 391 4 1
Wake Forest Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Ellison 10 42 4.2 1
S. Hartman 9 25 2.8 0
C. Turner 7 24 3.4 0
Q. Cooley 5 17 3.4 0
Duke Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Moore 6 62 10.3 0
J. Coleman 12 37 3.1 0
R. Leonard 7 15 2.1 0
J. Waters 4 4 1.0 0
Wake Forest Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Morin 6 93 15.5 1
A. Perry 8 87 10.9 1
B. Whiteheart 4 60 15.0 0
D. Greene 3 48 16.0 1
K. Williams 3 41 13.7 0
J. Bull 2 18 9.0 0
Duke Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Calhoun 11 174 15.8 1
S. Hagans 8 139 17.4 2
J. Moore 8 76 9.5 1
J. Moore 1 1 1.0 0
J. Coleman 1 1 1.0 0
Wake Forest Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Martin Jr. 1 0
Duke Interceptions
Player Int Yards
D. Joiner 1 3
Wake Forest Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Dennis 4 120 30.0
Duke Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
P. Wilson 3 131 43.7
Wake Forest Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Morin 1 7 7.0
Duke Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Wake Forest Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. Williams 1 22 22.0
Duke Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Stinson 3 82 27.3
T. Moore 2 35 17.5
Wake Forest Missed FG
Player Length
Duke Missed FG
Player Length




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