DURHAM, N.C. — Wake Forest has scored a few touchdowns and earned a couple of Atlantic Coast Conference victories under coach Dave Clawson.
They just never happened in the same game — until now.
Wake Forest upset Duke 24-14 on Saturday behind three touchdowns from freshman Cade Carney and a big game from hometown favorite Kendall Hinton.
Carney rushed for 108 yards while becoming the program’s first freshman with a three-TD game since Chris Barclay against Purdue in 2002. He scored on runs of 7, 1 and 55 yards — the last of which broke a 14-all tie with about 4 minutes left in the third quarter.
It added up to a big step forward for the Demon Deacons, even if Clawson wasn’t ready yet to pronounce it so.
“We’re 2-0, and now we’ve got to work hard. The reward for winning a game like this is, the next game becomes more important,” Clawson said. “Whether this is a turning point in our program, you can’t say that now.”
Wake Forest entered with just seven wins under Clawson. Two of those came against FCS schools and three others were in less-than-inspiring fashion: A 6-3, double-overtime win against Virginia Tech in 2014, a 3-0 win at Boston College last year and last week’s 7-3 victory over Tulane.
In this complete effort, the Demon Deacons erased one particularly pesky footnote: They had failed to score a touchdown in either of their prior ACC wins under Clawson.
They can thank Carney and Hinton, who threw for 133 yards and rushed for 63 more. Mike Weaver made it a 10-point game by kicking a 34-yard field goal with 3:50 to play.
The Demon Deacons (2-0, 1-0) entered just 4-20 in league games during the last three years. They outrushed Duke 239-37, and — after managing just 175 total yards against Tulane — more than doubled that in this one by rolling up 389 total yards.
“When a team invests as much as our guys have invested, they’re not going to fall apart after one drive or one game,” Clawson said.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones had a pair of 1-yard scoring runs on zone-read keepers for the Blue Devils (1-1, 0-1), who were 6½-point favorites. But he was intercepted by Brad Watson deep in Wake Forest territory with 1:54 left, and that all but sealed it.
“You never know what play in the game is going to make a huge difference,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “This time, we weren’t consistent enough.”
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons not only earned their first win over Duke since 2011, they might have found their quarterback in Hinton — though Clawson wasn’t ready to anoint him as his starter.
Hinton had split time with John Wolford since the start of last season and came off the bench in this one, but wound up taking every significant snap in the final 2½ quarters and led all four scoring drives. Hinton was 6 of 11 passing and averaged 5.7 yards on his 11 carries.
“For me to get up here after a game and make a pronouncement isn’t fair to any parties involved,” Clawson said.
Duke: An offense that was so efficient in the first half against an FCS opponent last week still isn’t anything close to a finished product. This could have been a Duke blowout, but in the first half Duke lost a fumble on a deflected backwards pass near midfield, netted no yards after forcing a fumble at the Wake Forest 35 and missed field goals of 30 and 43 yards. The Blue Devils also fumbled away their opening series of the third quarter, turned it over three times — giving them eight on the season — and never led in the second half.
“Our inability to run it early was obvious,” Cutcliffe said. “Some of our best players are in the backfield. We’ve got to put them to work.”
Maybe Wake Forest can start checking out hotel rates and flights for the holidays because in eight of the last 10 years, the winner of the Wake Forest-Duke game has gone to a bowl while the loser stayed home. The exceptions: the 2009 and ’10 Demon Deacons, who beat the Blue Devils but finished with losing records.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons will look for their first 3-0 start since 2008 when they play host to Delaware of the FCS.
Duke heads to Northwestern for the first of two straight out-of-conference trips to the Midwest, with a visit to Notre Dame the following week.
AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org