Wake Forest Beats Duke 33-30 in Overtime Thriller

Nov. 1, 2008

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Shane Popham's 28-yard field goal and Alphonso Smith's second interception of the game led Wake Forest (5-3, 3-2 ACC) to a thrilling 33-30 overtime victory over Duke (4-4, 1-3 ACC) on a beautiful Saturday evening at BB&T Field.

Duke had an opportunity to win the game in regulation. The Blue Devils started their last drive of the game at their own 33-yard line and went 43 yards on 10 plays to set up a field goal attempt by Nick Maggio from 42 yards out. Maggio's attempt was wide right and sent the game into overtime.

Wake Forest got the ball to start the overtime. The Deacons converted a 3rd-and-10 on the Blue Devil 25-yard line to keep the drive alive. The pass from Riley Skinner was deflected by a Blue Devil player and went into the hands of Devon Brown to extend the drive. Wake Forest advanced the ball to the Duke 11-yard line before the drive stalled, setting up a Popham field goal attempt from 28 yards out. Popham's kick was good to give the Deacons a 33-30 lead.

On the second play of Duke's offensive possession in overtime, Thaddeus Lewis's pass was intercepted by Smith to seal the game and give the Deacons a 33-30 overtime victory.

Smith recorded the fourth multi-interception of his career and now has 19 career picks. The 19 interceptions ranks him first all-time at Wake Forest in career interceptions.

Aaron Curry made a career high 16 tackles to lead Wake Forest. Curry also had one tackle for loss to increase his career total to 38.5, which ranks sixth all-time at Wake Forest. Chip Vaughn added 13 tackles in the game.

After struggling in his first two career games, Popham was perfect on field goals, making all three attempts. Popham converted from 24, 44 and 28 yards.

D.J. Boldin led the way offensively for Wake Forest with eight catches on 89 yards. Brandon Pendergrass ran for a career-high 64 yards on a career-best 21 attempts.

Wake Forest kicked off the game and immediately forced a turnover as Duke fumbled the opening kickoff. Jonathon Jones forced the fumble that was recovered by Lee Malchow. The Deacons immediately turned the turnover into points as Riley Skinner scored from one yard out to give Wake Forest a 7-0 lead with 12:07 remaining in the first quarter.

Duke evened the game at seven on its next drive. Zack Asack found Donovan Varner on a 2-yard pass play with seven minutes left in the first quarter to tie the game at seven. Brett Huffman made three catches on the drive for 44 yards to lead the Blue Devils.

The Deacons were able to move the ball well on their next possession but couldn't come away with any points. After a 34-yard kickoff return by Alphonso Smith to the Wake Forest 42-yard line, Skinner hit D.J. Boldin on a 27-yard pass play to the Duke 31-yard line. The Deacons went for it on 4th-and-3 but Skinner's scramble was just short of the first down and Duke took over at its own 3-yard line.

The Wake Forest defense was able to stop Duke 3-and-out on its next possession and the Deacon special teams made a play on the punt as Alphonso Smith blocked the punt and the Duke punter fell on the ball in the endzone, forcing a safety to make the score 9-7 with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter. The block punt by Smith was the fifth of his career and the first for Wake Forest since the Virginia game last season.

On the kickoff after the safety, the Wake Forest special teams made another great play as Alex Frye returned the ball 57 yards to the Duke 30-yard line to set the Deacons up with great field position. Wake Forest was able to get inside the Duke 10-yard line, but the offense stalled, forcing a 24-yard field goal by Shane Popham. Popham split the uprights to give Wake Forest a 12-7 lead with 11:52 left in the second quarter.

Neither team was able to score for the rest of the first half as Wake Forest took a 12-7 lead to the locker room.

Wake Forest extended the lead to 19-7 with 8:45 left in the third quarter. The scoring drive was set up after Lewis was intercepted by Alphonso Smith. Brandon Pendergrass sealed the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Deacons a 12-point lead.

Duke answered the Wake Forest touchdown with one of its own. Jabari Marshall set the Blue Devils up with good field position on a 36-yard kickoff return to the Duke 45-yard line. Lewis found Clifford Harris on a 33-yard touchdown pass to cut Wake Forest's lead to 19-14 with 7:24 to go in the third quarter.

After Wake Forest went 3-and-out on its next drive, Duke drove the ball 70 yards on 10 plays to take its first lead of the game. Jay Hollingsworth ran the ball in from six yards out to give the Blue Devils a 20-19 lead. The two-point conversion attempt failed to keep the lead at one.

The Deacons grabbed the lead back on its next offensive possession. Duke attempted a surprise onside kick and appeared to recover the ball. However, the Blue Devils were whistled for kick catch interference, setting Wake Forest up with great field position at the Duke 26-yard line. The Deacon offense was unable to move the ball and Popham connected from 44 yards out to give Wake Forest a 22-20 lead with 1:22 left in the third quarter.

Duke responded with a field goal of its own to take the lead 23-22. The key play of the drive came on a 3rd-and-10 at the Duke 30-yard line. Josh Bush was whistled for pass interference to keep the drive alive. On the next play from scrimmage, Lewis hit Eron Riley with a 52-yard pass down the left sideline to the Wake Forest 10-yard line. Maggio converted a field goal from 20 yards out to give Duke a one-point lead with 12:23 to go in the game.

Wake Forest went 3-and-out on its next possession, but the Demon Deacons caught a break on the punt from Popham. The kick was muffed by Donovan Varner and recovered by Greg Bechtel at the Duke 33-yard line to give the ball back to Wake Forest.

The Deacons capitalized on the mistake two plays later as Boldin caught a 20-yard pass from Skinner to give Wake Forest a 28-23 lead. Skinner found Boldin again on the two-point conversion play to extend the lead to 30-23 with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter.

Duke evened the game for the second time on its next possession, driving seven plays on 45 yards. The drive concluded on a 20-yard pass play from Lewis to Harris to tie the game at 30 with 6:48 left in the game, setting up the overtime heroics from Popham and Smith.

Wake Forest is back in action on Saturday, November 8, as the Deacons host Virginia for Homecoming. The time for the Virginia game will be announced on Sunday.



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