Boone, No. 25 Duke beat Wake Forest, 28-21
Anthony Boone threw three touchdown passes and No. 25 Duke held on to beat Wake Forest 28-21 on Saturday for its seventh straight win.
Brandon Connette rushed 3 yards for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter and Boone was 24 of 29 for 256 yards. The Blue Devils (9-2, 5-2 ACC) fell behind 14-0 before rallying to match the school record for victories and remain in control of the Coastal Division.
Boone threw touchdown passes covering 58 and 10 yards to Jamison Crowder and 4 yards to Max McCaffrey.
Thomas Brown returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown for Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6).
Tanner Price was 12 of 27 for 124 yards in his final home game with a 6-yard touchdown to Spencer Bishop and an 11-yard touchdown run. But he was intercepted by Ross Cockrell with 2:30 left.
The Demon Deacons clinched their fifth straight losing season and are out of the bowl picture for the fourth time in five years.
Crowder finished with 121 yards receiving on 10 catches for Duke, which was playing as a ranked team for the first time since the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl.
They beat Wake Forest for the second straight year, reached the nine-win mark for the first time since 1941 and — if they beat rival North Carolina next week — will play No. 2 Florida State in the ACC title game.
But Duke spent a decent chunk of this game coming from behind.
Price capped Wake Forest's opening drive of the second half with an 11-yard touchdown run that put the Demon Deacons up 21-14, before Boone tied it three plays later with his deep TD pass to Crowder.
Boone's 20-yard scramble to the Wake Forest 3 on Duke's next series set up Connette's touchdown run — the 30th of his career. That gave Duke its first lead with 3:21 left in the third.
Wake Forest came up empty on its next two possessions but had one last chance after Ross Martin missed a 48-yard field goal with 4:11 left.
But Cockrell intercepted Price's late pass over the middle and the Blue Devils ran out the clock to seal their first seven-game winning streak since 1994.
For a while, though, it looked like Duke's first appearance in the Top 25 in nearly two decades was going to be a short one because its offense couldn't get going until midway through the second quarter.
Once it got rolling, it was tough to stop: Duke scored on four of five possessions, and was stopped only when it took a knee to end the half.
Boone's shorter TD pass to Crowder got Duke's offense started, and his back-shoulder fade to McCaffrey tied it at 14 with 1:11 before the break.
The Demon Deacons' offense hadn't scored a touchdown since the second half of the Miami loss on Oct. 26 — and on Duke's second possession, their defense started the scoring.
Brown turned receiver Isaac Blakeney's fumble into a scoop-and-score with 5:02 left in the first. Wake Forest then followed that with their first offensive TD of the month when Price's pass to Bishop made it 14-0 three plays into the second.