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September 9, 2006

Wake Forest blocks field goal to stop Duke

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- Chip Vaughn blocked Joe Surgan's 27-yard field goal attempt on the final play to help Wake Forest hold off Duke 14-13 on Saturday.

Micah Andrews ran for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:28 left for the Demon Deacons (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed most of the way before getting Vaughn's big play to stun the Blue Devils (0-2, 0-1) in a game Duke had every chance to win.

Riley Skinner threw for 235 yards and a score in his first start for the Demon Deacons, who lost starter Benjamin Mauk to a season-ending injury last week.

Thaddeus Lewis threw for 305 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Devils, who outplayed the Demon Deacons much of the way only to be undone by a dizzying display of ineptitude that prevented them from building a big first-half lead. Jomar Wright had the Blue Devils' only touchdown, a 47-yard grab from Lewis late in the first half.

It was hard to imagine the Demon Deacons would need such late-game heroics to beat Duke, which was coming off a humbling 13-0 home loss to Division I-AA Richmond. Wake Forest had won three of the previous four meetings by at least 26 points, including a 44-6 road win last year in which the Demon Deacons ran for 419 yards.

The Demon Deacons had trouble getting their running game going, finishing with 57 yards on 24 carries. But Andrews, who had 142 yards last week, found the running lane when his team needed it most, pushing through the right side for a 2-yard touchdown and a 14-13 lead.

But the Blue Devils answered, taking advantage of two pass-interference penalties to put together a 63-yard drive. They appeared ready to win the game when Lewis found Wright for a 21-yard gain, setting up Surgan's 27-yard kick with 6 seconds left.

But Vaughn, a redshirt sophomore and backup free safety, managed to swat Surgan's kick, sending the Demon Deacons spilling onto the field in celebration as the game ended.

Lewis played a strong game in his first career start, completing 21-of-32 passes. His long TD to Wright gave Duke a 10-0 halftime lead, but the Blue Devils wasted that effort with a series of mistakes in the first half.

The list of gaffes seemed endless. Wright dropped a perfect deep ball from Lewis that would've gone for an easy touchdown on the first play, and Surgan missed a 27-yard field goal to end that drive. Lewis fumbled away an option pitch to end a drive at the Wake Forest 15. A roughing-the-passer penalty by Michael Tauiliili negated an interception by Chris Davis and the ensuing 49-yard return. And Re'quan Boyette fumbled at the 1-yard line and into the end zone for a touchback.

Duke still maintained its lead until Skinner - who completed 22-of-29 passes and settled down after a bad first half - directed the late seven-play, 63-yard drive that put the Demon Deacons ahead to stay.

For more coverage of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, check out DeaconsIllustrated.com; for more coverage of the Duke Blue Devils, check out DevilsIllustrated.com.com.

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