Durham, N.C. - Coaches and players spoke with reporters following Wake Forest's dramatic 24-23 victory over Duke. The Demon Deacons have won 12 in a row over the Blue Devils. The win is the 100th of Jim Grobe's head-coaching career.
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe
Opening statement: "First of all let me just say a couple of things about that game today. I just have to tell you how proud I am of Duke's kids, how hard I thought they played today. That was really a game where nobody deserved to lose, and I think David's [Cutcliffe] doing a great job. It's a great school. I feel their pain. We're so hard to be at academic schools like we are, and compete at the highest level. Week in and week out you've got to play good teams every week, and that was a football team today where their kids put it on the line. I thought they had a really good plan. I'm sure they at one point thought that they had gotten it, and Chris Givens made a big play, but I just want to say how impressed I was with their coaching today and the way their kids played. I thought they really played their hearts out."
Coach they made a lot of adjustments defensively at halftime. What made it so hard for you guys to move the ball? "I would have to say first and foremost I think they're kids did a good job playing us. We just weren't very sharp. I think Tanner [Price] missed some throws. We dropped a couple of balls. We had opportunities to make some first downs. We were just killing our defense, and I thought until Chris had the big play that we were going to possibly come off and be talking about how the defense couldn't hold that lead, and if you saw the game I think we were one of seven there for a long time without a first down, and no time off the clock. I think the first amount of credit goes to Duke's defensive kids for playing really full-speed, hardnosed football in the second half, but I think also we misfired a few times. I can't just say enough about our defensive kids, and the toughness and all of those kind of good things that you need to play this game that were showing in the fourth quarter."
What was the play that Chris [Givens] scored on, because obviously it wasn't designed to go all the way? "No, no we were running an intermediate route, had a curl route, and Chris caught the ball of course, and then he avoided a tackler. Once he got going full speed up the sideline he can motor. We had a similar thing on the bubble at Boston College where he got up the sideline like that. At first we thought he was going to get bounced out, but then he broke another tackle. [It's] just huge, huge, because at that point we needed the whole deal. We needed a touchdown, and not a field goal, so that was huge for us right there."
In your experience have you seen a more tenuous 12-game winning streak? "Unbelievable, and if they had gotten us today I would have just had to say hey great job. We've just been blessed, very fortunate. I'd like to say that we've outplayed them every time, but in reality we've had the bounce or the break that we've needed. Of course that one out there you have to give Chris Givens a lot of credit. That wasn't a flukey deal. That's something he's capable of doing."
Wake Forest wide receiver Chris Givens
How frustrating was that to go from just doing great in the first half to just basically getting stopped in the second half? "It was real frustrating, because you know we practice too hard for us to come out here and perform like this, so we just had to get back focused, and pick our intensity up, and get back to doing what we do best."
Did anything happen on the sidelines? "I just really pulled everybody up, and told them look we've got to go out here on this next drive and give it all you've got, because we didn't want to be the first [Wake Forest] team in 12 years to lose to Duke, and we knew that. We knew we had to step up. Me and [Joe] Looney just pulled everybody together, and got everybody back focused, and we went out there and won the game."
Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price
On going from the offense's success in the first half to struggling in the second: "We really stalled the second half. That's something it seems we've done a lot this year. It's something we've got to work on, get better at, and prevent from happening in the future."
Coach said you missed some throws. Was it something that Duke was doing, or did you not see it? "Honestly it was me not being accurate. They were throws I think I can make, I know I can make. I was just off a little bit, and I can't have that."
Wake Forest strong safety Cyhl Quarles
You guys were out on the field a lot in the second half, and had to make some big stops. I'm sure it got tough out there. What was it for you guys? "First and foremost I want to give props to Duke. They played a hard game. They have a high -powered offense. Those receivers they work hard for their yardage. They make sure they're on the same page as their quarterback. We wanted to stay calm and collected, and go out there and play our game. It's always a rough game coming down to the wire. We just have to tip our hats off to Duke as a team."
Your defense was out there, it seems like you're always out there in a crisis situation. Did it seem that way to you guys? "Not really, it's a team effort, so when the offense is down we try to pick them up. When we're down the offense bails us out, and that's what we tried to do today. We have a lot of seniors on our defense right now. That helps us out with Josh Bush and Kyle Wilber. Tristan Dorty didn't get to play today. He's a little banged up, but those guys they keep them comfortable on the field, even Scott Betros and those guys, the linebackers and Riley Haynes. They keep you pumped up and motivated to play, and that's all that matters at the end of the day."
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe
Opening statement: "I was really proud of our players' effort the second half, playing team football in all phases. The second half was pretty incredible. The kicking game was clicking, for the most part, and certainly defensively it was a display. Offensively we became physical, won the physical battle - all of those things very encouraging after seeing the mood in the locker room at halftime. As it ended up, we didn't make the plays. We had to congratulate our players on putting themselves in position to win the game. That's what they did. We couldn't overcome one of the worst halves that was played since we've been here, in a lot of areas. But bottom line on those … I got outcoached badly and really did a very poor job. Every area of head coach's responsibility was displayed poorly in the first half and I told our team that, and we couldn't overcome that. It was enough to try to overcome Wake Forest, and so these things hurt. When you do these things, you hurt, but it's time to take deep looks and evaluations of what you're getting done."