The Student Beats The Teacher - Duke Wins Against Wake Forest
Wow! How about that Duke football fans?! Duke football came from behind in the 4th quarter this past Saturday to beat Wake Forest by a score of 34 - 31.
The student... (Mike Elko was a former defensive coordinator under Dave Clawson at Wake Forest from 2014 - 2016.)( He also spent two seasons with Clawson at both Fordham and Richmond, five seasons with him at Bowling Green, and three seasons with Clawson at Wake Forest.)... beats the teacher.
Duke football finished the season with a record of 8 - 4. My preseason prediction was for Duke to go 6 - 6. And I will have to admit, I thought I was generous with that prediction thinking they might even finish 4 - 8. Well... the Elko era blew past my and many others expectations. Duke football is now bowl bound!
Keep reading below for How It Happened and Notables from Duke Sports Information as well as Bowl projections from other media sites and my bowl projection at the bottom.
How It Happened
Duke started the scoring with a 42-yard field goal by freshman Todd Pelino on its opening possession for the game's first points.
Wake Forest responded with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to pull in front 7-3.
The home side put together back-to-back scoring drives by Hagans and Calhoun to take a 17-7 edge midway through the second quarter.
The Demon Deacons answered with 10-straight points to knot the score at 17-17 with 1:50 remaining in the opening half.
The Blue Devils used nearly all of the time left in the quarter to drive 60 yards in 10 plays to record a 32-yard field goal to take a 20-17 lead into the break.
Duke extended its advantage to 27-17 after Leonard found Jordan Moore for a 30-yard touchdown reception.
Wake Forest ended the Blue Devils' scoring spurt with consecutive scores to take a 31-27 advantage with 12:31 remaining in the game.
After Duke's defense forced a Demon Deacons punt with 2:57 left, the Blue Devils used two plays to go 65 yards for Hagans' go-ahead score.
With time winding down, Wake Forest picked up one first down on its ensuring drive before Duke forced three incomplete passes and an interception to get the ball back with 1:22 remaining.
The Blue Devils then recorded a needed first down to ultimately secure themselves their eighth win of the year.
With the victory, Duke earned its most ACC wins since 2014 when it finished 5-3 and secured a trip to the Sun Bowl.
With its 507 yards of total offense in the game, Duke has now recorded three games with 500-plus yards of total offense.
Calhoun finished with a game-high 174 receiving yards, including 101 yards in the opening quarter.
He and Hagans become the first Duke pair to record 100-plus yards in a single game since Calhoun and Eli Pancol both tallied 100-yards against Northwestern earlier this season.
Saturday's game also marked the first time Duke had a 100-yard receiver in back-to-back games since Calhoun achieved the mark in consecutive contests against North Carolina and Georgia Tech in 2021.
Leonard finished his night 29-of-41 passing for 391 yards with four touchdowns after converting on all 12 of his pass attempts to begin the game.
Leonard's four touchdown passes of 20-plus yards tie him with Quentin Harris' 2019 single-game program record.
Leonard now has 11 touchdown passes of 20-plus yards to tie with Ben Bennett, Sean Renfree and Daniel Jones for the most in a single-season.
Heyward finished with double digit tackles for the fourth time this year and 12th time in his career.
Heyward registered one sack to pull into a tie with Dan Yellott, Scott Youmans, and Travis Pearson for 14th all-time on Duke's career sacks chart with 11.5.
Jaylen Stinson recorded three kick returns for 82 yards.
Pelino earned a season-long 42-yard field goal and converted on both of his FG attempts in the game.
Bowl Projections from different media sites listed below.
*CBS Sports = Holiday Bowl - Duke vs Oregon
*247 Sports = Gasparilla Bowl - Duke vs UConn
*College Football News = Gasparilla Bowl - Duke vs Marshall
*ESPN = Duke’s Mayo Bowl - Duke vs Maryland
*ESPN = Sunbowl - Duke vs UCLA
*Athlon Sports = Military Bowl - Duke vs Cincinnati
*Action Network = Sunbowl - Duke vs UCLA
*USA Today = Sunbowl - Duke vs Oregon State
*Sporting News = Pinstripe Bowl - Duke vs Maryland
*Pro Football Network = Duke’s Mayo Bowl - Duke vs Maryland
*Sports Illustrated = Holiday Bowl - Duke vs Oregon
*The Athletic = Military Bowl - Duke vs UCF
My Bowl Projection
It has been fun following the bowl projections for Duke this season. Duke football has been listed all over the place for bowl projections. For my projection, I went with my heart over my mind on this one and predict Duke vs UCF in the Military Bowl. I do think this bowl is a good fit for Duke. I believe more Duke fans would travel to the Military Bowl (including myself) vs out west. It’s just around 4 and 1/2 hours drive from Durham to Annapolis making it a perfect bowl site as far as travel goes (especially if we can’t get Duke’s Mayo). I would like a Duke vs ECU matchup in this bowl. I do think that game would generate a lot of buzz being a game played between two colleges from the state of North Carolina. It could even setup a potential future home and away series between the teams which I would like to see. I could even see Duke playing Cincinnati in this bowl. However, in the end I predict it will be Duke vs UCF in the Military Bowl.
Wherever Duke lands, it has been an epic first season of the Elko era for Duke football. Fans have a lot be excited about for bowl season and future seasons of Duke football.
Duke is schedule to make its 15th bowl appearance. Bowl announcements will be released on Sunday, Dec. 4th.