Saturday marks a rarity for Duke and Wake Forest, who will meet for the first time with both schools heading for a bowl game once the postseason arrives.
The state’s two ACC members who are private schools have rarely gone to bowl games in the same season as it is.
Back in 2017, Duke needed a win over a seven-win Wake team in the regular-season finale to get to six wins and qualify for a bowl game. The Blue Devils won, 31-23, and joined the Demon Deacons in the postseason.
The following year, Duke was bowl-eligible when Wake hammered the Blue Devils, 59-7, to claim its sixth win and make a bowl game.
The past three seasons, Wake Forest posted winning seasons and played in bowl games while the Blue Devils suffered through three consecutive losing seasons.
That’s changed this season with Duke (7-4, 4-3 ACC) and Wake Forest (7-4, 3-4) both assured of hearing their names called with bowl pairings are determined on Dec. 4.
This is the first time Mike Elko, Duke’s first-year head coach, will square off against Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. Elko was an assistant when Clawson was head coach at Richmond, Bowling Green and Wake Forest, with Elko the defensive coordinator at Bowling Green (2009-13) and Wake Forest (2014-16).
Three Duke players to watch
Riley Leonard, QB: The sophomore’s solid season includes completing 62.5% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His 2,403 passing yards are No. 5 in the ACC. He also leads Duke in rushing and is tops among ACC quarterbacks in rushing with 621 yards and 11 touchdowns. On a cold, windy day at Pittsburgh last Saturday, Leonard threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for a score in a 28-26 Duke loss.
Jordan Moore, WR: The converted quarterback had his most productive game of the season on Saturday at Pitt, catching 14 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. Leonard threw 20 passes toward Moore in the game. A sophomore, Moore has 49 catches for 567 yards and four touchdowns this season.
DeWayne Carter, DT: Duke’s top defensive lineman, Carter will be key to the Blue Devils slowing Wake Forest’s high-powered offense. Carter had two quarterback hurries against Pitt on Saturday. For the season, he has five quarterback hurries, 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles with nine tackles for loss.
Three Wake Forest players to watch
Sam Hartman, QB: In what he says will be his final college season, Hartman has thrown for 32 touchdowns and 3,074 yards, both second in the ACC behind North Carolina redshirt freshman Drake Maye. Hartman’s completion percentage is 63.1% and he’s thrown seven of his 10 interceptions over the past four games.
A.T. Perry, WR: One of the ACC’s top receivers, the sure-handed Perry has 10 touchdown receptions and 893 receiving yards on 62 receptions. Only UNC’s Josh Downs has more touchdown receptions among ACC receivers than Perry.
Jasheen Davis, DL: A force in the middle of Wake’s defense, Davis has 11.5 tackles for losses this season with four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. He leads Wake with five sacks.
Vegas betting odds
Wake opened as a 3.5-point favorite over Duke on Sunday. The over-under total is 70.5.
Wake Forest at Duke game and TV info
Who: Duke (7-4, 4-3) at Wake Forest (7-4, 3-4)
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham
When: 3:30 p.m., Saturday
TV: ESPN2 or ACC Network