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Photo courtesy of Duke Photography
DURHAM, N.C. (GoDuke.com) – Anthony Boone passed for 275 yards and a score and added a rushing touchdown, and Issac Blakeney caught seven passes for a career-high 107 yards to lead Duke to a 41-21 victory over Wake Forest in its regular season finale on Saturday evening at Wallace Wade Stadium.
The Blue Devils finish the regular season 9-3 overall and 5-3 in ACC play, while Wake Forest falls to 3-9 and 1-7 in conference action. The nine wins marks the first time in program history Duke has posted consecutive seasons with at least nine victories.
Jamison Crowder added eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, while Shaquille Powell had 16 carries for 63 yards to lead the running game. It marked Crowder’s 15th career game with 100-plus receiving yards as he moved into third on the ACC career receiving yards chart with 3,539 yards.
DeVon Edwards led the outstanding defensive charge with 13 tackles, including seven solo stops and a sack. Jeremy Cash added seven tackles, including two sacks and a forced fumble, while David Helton had six stops.
Duke capitalized on strong play across all facets of the game in the first half. The Blue Devils recovered a fumble and an onside kick and registered a huge kickoff return to bolster the offense to a 13-point lead at the half, 27-14.
Wake Forest, after scoring on its opening drive of the game, was held scoreless for a span of 22:10 and managed to get into Duke territory just twice in the first half. The last time Wake Forest crossed midfield resulted in a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Wolford to Cam Serigne.
Boone was outstanding in the first quarter, connecting on 9-of-11 passes for 135 yards and a 52-yard touchdown to Crowder to put the Blue Devils up 21-7 after only 15 minutes.
C.J. France and Jack Willoughby both registered big plays for the Blue Devils in the opening quarter, recovering a fumble and onside kick, respectively. Both plays led to Duke touchdowns in a span of nine seconds. The first was an eight-yard dash by Shaun Wilson into the end zone and the second came on a 52-yard strike from Boone to Crowder. The 52-yard grab was the 10th career receiving touchdown of 50-plus yards for Crowder, the most among all active FBS players.
Ross Martin added to an outstanding evening of special teams on the first drive of the second quarter with a 45-yard field goal to extend Duke’s lead to 24-7. The 45-yard kick was the 10th of his career from 45-plus yards and his 50th career field goal. He tacked on another 28-yard kick for three more points to make it 27-14 at the half, the second-most points by the Blue Devils in an opening half this season.
Wake Forest refused to go away in the second half. Wolford again burned Duke with a long throw for six to pull the Demon Deacons within one score with 11:23 left in the second quarter.
Boone, after struggling in the second quarter, got back on track on Duke’s first drive of the third frame. The senior captain rushed for 24 and threw for 14 more yards to help put the Blue Devils on the Wake Forest 7-yard line. Thomas Sirk came on for the final two plays of the drive and appeared to find the end zone before fumbling the ball as he crossed the plane of the goal line where redshirt sophomore Casey Blaser recovered for his first career touchdown and a 34-21 Duke lead. David Reeves added an 18-yard reception from Sirk to send Duke to its ninth win of the year.
The Blue Devils will await their bowl fate, which will be announced Dec. 7 on ESPN.