Winston-Salem, NC - Brandon Connette put No. 25 Duke (8-2, 5-2 ACC) on top for the first time and for good on its way to a 28-21 win over Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6 ACC) and crushed the Demon Deacons bowl dreams when he ran for a three-yard touchdown with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter.
The Deacs, who led 14-0 midway through the second quarter, were dealt two major fourth-quarter setbacks when Kelby Brown recovered Josh Harris' fumble at the 8:34 mark and when Ross Cockrell intercepted Tanner Price with 4:11 to go in the game.
"We turned the ball over too much and we lost the turnover battle," Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said. "They just played better than us today. I don't think there was a turning point."
"I thought the game went back and forth pretty good. I thought we still had a great shot there at the end with two timeouts and over three minutes to go in pretty good field position. We turned the ball over, and you just can't do that."
The turning point of the game arguably came when Merrill Noel was knocked out of the game with an injured left ankle in the second quarter. Noel, who finished with seven tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, defended Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder well before his injury.