The home team and home crowd made things difficult for Duke through three quarters, but the Blue Devils were eventually able to down Wake Forest 28-21 on the back of a spectacular performance by quarterback Anthony Boone. The junior completed 24-of-29 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns, adding 57 yards on the ground, to help Duke (9-2, 5-2) win its ninth game for just the second time in school history.
More importantly, the Blue Devils, ranked 25th in the Associated Press Poll, are now just one win away from their first ever ACC Coastal Division title. With at least a share of the division title in hand, only rival North Carolina stands between Duke and two historic feats – winning 10 games and earning a berth in the conference championship game for the first time. The Blue Devils would take on No. 2 Florida State for the ACC title.
A loss on the road to the Tar Heels, however, would set up an unheard of potential five-way tie in the Coastal. Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and potentially Miami and Virginia Tech would all have three losses in league play. In that scenario, Virginia Tech would win the tie-breaker based on their record within the five-team group.
In total, there were 32 possible scenarios involving these five teams, with an variety of possible tie-breaker outcomes. There’s not enough room here to run through them all, so here’s a comprehensive explanation of each. Ultimately, Duke can avoid a messy finish by taking care of business and beating UNC.
Regardless of how things play out, six years of hard work under David Cutcliffe is paying off this season. Before his arrival, Duke hadn’t won an ACC game in three seasons. The Blue Devils have already accomplished a number of historical accomplishments, making a good case for Cutcliffe to win coach of the year in the ACC and nationally.