Duke earns bowl eligibility with win at Wake Forest

After six straight losses, Blue Devils win final two to get to .500

Duke running back Brittain Brown stretches for the end zone in the fourth quarter against the Wake Forest BB&T Field. (Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports)

Duke converted fourth-down plays on three second-half drives that helped it recover from a double-digit deficit to defeat Wake Forest 31-23 Saturday at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.

Duke (6-6, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) is in position for its fifth bowl in six seasons.

Quarterback Daniel Jones ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 13:53 remaining after the Blue Devils converted on a fourth-and-6, with Austin Parker’s extra-point kick providing a 24-23 lead. A fourth-and-2 pickup led to Brittain Brown’s 4-yard run with 8:23 remaining.

Then, nursing an eight-point edge, the Blue Devils had another fourth-down conversion that kept a drive alive. Still, Wake Forest regained possession at its own 20-yard line with 2:18 left.

Duke‘s Mark Gilbert intercepted a pass to seal the outcome.

Jones was 25-for-44 for 346 yards and two touchdowns, though he threw three interceptions.

The Demon Deacons (7-5, 4-4), who had a two-game winning streak snapped, were denied their first eight-win regular season since 2007. Duke defeated Wake Forest for the fifth time in six seasons.

Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford, who was shaken up in the second half and missed some time before returning, completed 16 of 33 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

Jones’ 6-yard touchdown toss to freshman tight end Noah Gray with 6:58 left in the third quarter trimmed Duke‘s deficit to 20-17.

Wake Forest led by as many as 14 points until late in the second quarter, but Jones connected with tight end Daniel Helm for an 18-yard touchdown play with 2:56 remaining in the half.

Wolford opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tabari Hines. He threw a 43-yard touchdown to Alex Bachman in the third quarter.

Mike Weaver kicked field goals of 29, 41 and 43 yards for the Demon Deacons. Duke‘s only points in the game’s first 27 minutes came on Parker’s 38-yard field goal.