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Duke Football Defeats Wake Forest On Walk-Off Field Goal

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Duke defeated Wake Forest 24–21 on Thursday night despite playing with a third-string quarterback thanks to a 26-yard field goal from Todd Pelino on the game’s final play.

As the Blue Devils (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended a two-game losing streak and earned bowl eligibility, Pelino’s field goal gave them their lone lead of the game.

The Blue Devils turned to true freshman Grayson Loftis of Gaffney, South Carolina, to handle quarterback duties. He completed 7 of 19 passes for 86 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Wake Forest has experience winning with a third-string quarterback because the Demon Deacons defeated Pittsburgh two games prior when their third-string quarterback was used.

Wake Forest’s starter, Mitch Griffis, returned and completed 16 of 19 passes for 241 yards and one interception.

With 4:12 remaining, Ryan Smith of Duke intercepted Griffis. The Blue Devils soon found themselves in a second-and-21 situation, but they quickly gained momentum thanks to a pass interference call on the third down and a personal foul penalty later in the play.

Due to injuries, Riley Leonard, Duke’s starting quarterback, and backup Henry Belin IV were both sidelined.

Griffis’ 5-yard scramble in the third quarter gave Wake Forest (4-5, 1-5) the lead. The play was set up by his 61-yard throw play to Taylor Morin.

With 11:40 left, Loftis’ 29-yard pass to Jordan Moore gave Duke the victory.

In coach Mike Elko’s two seasons, the Blue Devils escaped what would have been their first losing run of three games.

In the first half, the sides traded touchdowns, ending with a 14–14 score at halftime.

In the opening quarter, Wake Forest’s Tate Carney rushed three yards. The remaining points were scored in the second quarter, starting with a Duke 32-yard run by Jaquez Moore.

Wake Forest’s next touchdown came from an 8-yard scramble by Griffis. Jordan Waters’ 4-yard run with one minute remaining in the first half gave Duke the lead.

Matthew Dennis, the kicker for Wake Forest, missed field goals from 27 and 39 yards.

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