DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest's roster was decimated by injuries before the 2018 season began, and things only got worse as the games came and went. So it was easy to understand the jubilant cheers of "We goin' bowling!" that echoed from their locker room after they knocked off another in-state opponent on the road to earn bowl eligibility.
Cade Carney rushed for a career-high 223 yards, the Demon Deacon defense forced four turnovers, and Wake Forest dominated Duke 59-7 on Saturday. In the process, the team secured bowl eligibility for the third time in coach Dave Clawson's five seasons at the school.
"Every team is different. Every year is different, and in the context of this season, this is a really satisfying win," said Clawson, whose roster sustained six season-ending injuries before the year began and another seven during the season. "It's a really satisfying year — not because we're 6-6, but because of what it took to get here. This was not an easy 6-6."
The Demon Deacons (6-6, 3-5 ACC) encountered little resistance on a cold, rainy day in Durham. They scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions. Quarterback Jamie Newman completed 7 of 8 passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, while Carney added 86 rushing yards.
"I like coming over here to Durham and playing these guys," said Carney, who rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns at Duke as a freshman in 2016.
Nasir Greer returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown, and Nick Sciba kicked a short field goal to give Wake Forest a 31-7 lead at halftime. The onslaught only continued, as the visitors scored touchdowns on four of their five second half possessions.
"Certainly, this year, it was our most complete game," Clawson said.
Receiver Greg Dortch added 124 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches before sitting out the final quarter. Newman finished with 177 passing yards and four touchdowns. He added 50 rushing yards.
For Duke (7-5, 3-5), quarterback Daniel Jones completed 17 of 36 passes for 145 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
"I don't know if we really had the same intensity, the same fire we've played with all season, and I think that made us struggle," Jones said. "On offense, we couldn't get in a rhythm. Turnovers put us in bad positions. Just a tough day."
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons earned bowl eligibility for the third consecutive season. It is only the second time in program history that Wake Forest qualified for a bowl game in three successive years. Former coach Jim Grobe guided the program to bowl games from 2006-08.
"We want to become a program that, even in our down years, we find a way to get to six or seven (wins) and get to a bowl," Clawson said. "We want going to bowls to be the expectation of our program."
Duke: The Blue Devils' struggles against the Deacs in Durham continued. Duke entered Saturday's contest having won five of its last six games against Wake Forest, but it has dropped eight of the last nine between the schools at Wallace Wade Stadium.
ONE TO REMEMBER, ONE TO FORGET
For Wake Forest, the 59-7 result was the largest margin of victory over an ACC opponent in program history. For Duke, the defeat was the program's most lopsided in coach David Cutcliffe's 11 seasons in charge.
THEY SAID IT
Cutcliffe, noting that his team failed to "carry the fight" to Wake Forest: "You didn't see (intensity) in practice. You don't know if it was totally there to begin with. It makes you wonder. I'm not going to figure all this out tonight. But we had adversity early and didn't respond to it, which is a shame."
Both teams await the announcement of their respective bowl destinations on Dec. 2.