When: Saturday, November 24, 2018. 12:30 pm
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
Television: ACC Regional Sports Network, Fox Sports South, WatchESPN
Line: Duke -11.5
Last Time: Duke 31, Wake Forest 23. Duke reached bowl eligibility on the last game of the regular season with a win in Winston Salem last year. Things did not look good for Duke early as they went down 17-3 after a Wake Forest touchdown with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half. A Daniel Jones 18 yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Helm shortly before the end of the half gave the Duke offense some confidence heading into the break. The Blue Devils took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter after a Daniel Jones touchdown run and added a Brittain Brown touchdown to set the final margin. The Duke defense tightened up in the second half, allowing only 6 points, which came on two field goals, each more than 40 yards out. Mark Gilbert lead the defense with two interceptions on the day. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 346 yards and 2 touchdowns. TJ Rahming had 8 catches for 90 yards.
The Blue Devils will try and lock up an 8 win season when the Demon Deacons come to town. Duke got off to a surprising and promising start in Death Valley last Saturday night, leading the Tiger 6-0 at the end of the first quarter before being shut out the rest of the way. The second half was particularly disappointing for Duke, who had their chances. The Blue Devil defense started missing tackles that they made easily in the first half and the offensive line began to wear down against the dominating defensive front of Clemson. Duke will have the opportunity to bounce back on offense, but they will be up against a Wake Forest team that is fighting for bowl eligibility.
The Demon Deacon defense has not been great this year. They rank near the bottom of college football in most defensive metrics, giving up 37 points per game, over 6 yards per play, and allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 65% of their passes. The Duke offense should find a lot of breathing room after being suffocated by the Clemson defense last week. This could be Daniel Jones last game in Wallace Wade Stadium, so it would be nice to see him have a big day, particularly along with senior receivers TJ Rahming, Chris Taylor and Johnathan Lloyd and senior tight ends Daniel Helm and Davis Koppenhaver. All of those players have given a lot to Duke in their time in Durham. Having a great Senior Day would be the cherry on top.
Its also Senior Day for linebacker Ben Humphreys and defensive back Jeremy McDuffie. Humphreys has been a start for the defense since he arrived on campus. After aggravating a knee injury in the loss to Clemson. It is unclear if he or Joe Giles-Harris will be available for Duke. Brandon Hill and Koby Quansah are going to be used either way. That will be the matchup to watch when Wake has the ball. The defensive line will have to pick up a lot of the slack and get some pressure in the backfield and not leave it up to the linebackers to stop the play. McDuffie has battled injuries since before arriving on campus, but has developed into a vital player for Duke. Originally lining up as a safety, McDuffie has been forced into playing the cornerback position at times due to injury. He is exactly what the Duke coaching staff looks for when recruiting defensive backs. They want everyone back there to have the ability to play any position.
This senior class has had a lot of ups and downs over the last 4 years. From finally breaking the bowl losing drought with a win over Indiana in 2015 to the improbable turnaround a season ago. There are just 2 games left to make some more memories.