Tanner Price

Washington’s Ducre named College All Star Bowl MVP with pick-six

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If you thought we were done with football, think again. The second annual College All Star Bowl was played in Glenville, South Carolina and Washington defensive back Greg Ducre returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown to lead his team to a 12-6 victory.

Ducre picked off a pass from wake Forest’s Tanner Price in the third quarter Price was caught trying to make something out of nothing after a poor snap went rolling about 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Perhaps the weather conditions had something to do with some of sloppy play in the game. Snow storms during the week reduced the amount of practice team both teams could have.

“We only had one practice together, but the defensive unit seemed to play pretty well and holding them to no touchdowns was pretty good,” said Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey told the Spartanburg Herald Journal.

His pick-six accounted for the only touchdown in the game, earning him MVP honors.

Photo: Washington Athletics

Duke avoids upset, maintains control of ACC Coastal

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For the first time since 1941, Duke (9-2, 5-2 ACC) has won nine games in a football season. One more would send the Blue Devils to their first ACC Championship Game. It was a sluggish start against Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6 ACC) but Duke rallied and came through on both sides of the football to leave town with a hard-fought 28-21 victory. The win keeps Duke on top of the ACC Coastal Division with one game to play.

Brandon Connette finished a third quarter drive that saw Duke take their first lead of the game. He did so in historic fashion by rushing for his 26th total touchdown of the year to give the Blue Devils a 28-21 lead after the successful extra point attempt. The touchdown tied a Duke single season record for total touchdowns in a season.

With Wake Forest looking poised to answer, the Duke defense came up with two big plays to force a 4th and 35 punting situation. Defensive end Kenny Anunike came up with a shoestring sack and seven-yard loss on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price and followed it up on the next play with a 13-yard sack of Price as the defensive line swarmed and collapsed the pocket protection. Duke later recovered a fumble midway through the fourth quarter at midfield, setting Duke up for a knockout blow.

With the win, Duke moves one step closer to wrapping up their first ACC division title since the conference expanded to a division format in 2005. If Duke beats North Carolina next week in Chapel Hill, then the Blue Devils will advance to face Florida State in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. A loss will leave Duke open to having to rely on tiebreaker scenarios. Duke has never won ten games in a season, but could have three opportunities to set the new school mark.

As for Wake Forest, the loss sinks the Demon Deacons below the eligibility requirement to play in a postseason bowl game. Wake Forest will enter SEC territory next week to wrap up their season at Vanderbilt.

Duke starts slow but ties Wake Forest at the half

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In control of their ACC Coastal fate and coming off a big win over Miami the previous week, perhaps a slow start should have been expected for Duke this weekend. Playing on the road at Wake Forest, the Blue Devils did just that but David Cutcliffe‘s team managed to pull it together and find some momentum going in to the half after digging out of a 14-0 hole to tie things up at the half.

Wake Forest took advantage of a first quarter turnover by Duke when Duke’s Issac Blakeney lost control of a football while fighting for extra yardage on a short pass play. Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson forced the fumble and Thomas Brown picked up the loose ball and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown and early 7-0 lead. A touchdown pass from Tanner Price to Spencer Bishop in the second quarter gave the home team a surprising 14-0 lead but then Duke settled down.

Duke quarterback Anthony Boone tossed the first of his two first half touchdowns to Jamison Crowder inside the red zone to get the Blue Devils on the board after starting a possession on Wake Forst’s side of the field. About six minutes later, and about a minute before halftime, Boone struck again deep inside the red zone with a short pass to Max McCaffrey.

Duke’s defense has played well, holding Wake Forest to just 100 yards of total offense at the break. Duke’s Boone has also been accurate, completing 13 of 16 pass attempts in the first half. A Duke victory will keep the Blue Devils on top of the ACC Coastal Division with one game to play. A loss though will re-open the door for the division with time running out. Duke still has a leg up n the division but needs to seize the opportunity today before traveling to rival North Carolina next week.

Florida State cruises back to ACC Championship Game

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Florida State (9-0, 7-0 ACC) is now, officially, on their way back to the ACC Championship Game. After taking a commanding 42-0 lead in to halftime at Wake Forest (4-6, 2-5 ACC) the Seminoles were able to put everything on cruise control the rest of the way. Florida State’s 59-3 victory clinched the ACC’s atlantic Division and will send the defending ACC champions back to Charlotte at the end of the regular season for a chance to defend the conference crown and perhaps play for a bigger prize in January.

Jameis Winston got an early day off with the game well in hand. The Heisman favorite finished his afternoon with 159 passing yards and two touchdowns.  The Florida State offense was set up for a weird day in the stats because the defense was so dominant against the Demon Deacons. Florida State recorded seven turnovers, including six interceptions. That was twice as many catches by Florida State’s defensive players as Wake Forest receivers at one point in the fourth quarter, with Tanner Price and Tyler Cameron having an absolutely brutal day against a far superior opponent.

Florida State’s dominating performance could not have come at a better time. Having already passed Oregon in the BCS standings after last week and with the Ducks losing Thursday night, Florida State will put a strangle hold on one of the top two spots in the BCS standings the rest of the way. With a favorable schedule to close out November, including a regular season finale against a woful Florida team, it will be difficult for any teams to track down the Noles for a top two spot. Florida State may also start to make a dent in the first place voting as well.

Florida State could be looking at a rematch against Miami in the ACC Championship Game, but the Coastal Division still has some things to sort out over the next few weeks. Don’t count on Florida State losing focus on the big picture here though while waiting to find out who they will play next. Florida State has now been there and done that as far as the conference championship game is concerned. The big prize is within their reach and getting closer each week.

Miami wisely lets Duke Johnson run free in comeback win

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Another week, another late victory for the Miami Hurricanes in ACC play. A week after narrowly escaping Chapel Hill with a win over North Carolina, Miami returned home to score a late victory against Wake Forest. Duke Johnson rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and Antonio Crawford‘s interception of a Tanner Price pass sealed a tight win for the Hurricanes, 24-21. What a week for Miami.

The second half continued to be a defensive battle. Wake Forest continued to run clock as much as they could while on offense but failed to add any points on the scoreboard after leading Miami 14-10 at the half. Not being able to put points on the board eventually came back to haunt Wake Forest, so it seemed. Miami had battled field position for much of the afternoon with a stagnant offense not helping the cause. From their own nine-yard line in the fourth quarter, that changed when Stephen Morris let loose a deep ball to Stacey Coley for a 44-yard gain down the right sideline. Coley showed good concentration as he fell to the ground and had to secure a loose football falling in to his lap on the ground.But three plays later Miami was forced to punt. The field position game had been flipped in Miami’s favor though.

On Miami’s next drive a return to the running game was key as Miami ran all eight plays, mostly calling on Johnson. Johnson capped the eight-play drive with a touchdown for a 17-14 lead. Wake Forest responded though with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession. Price completed five straight attempts on the drive, including a 36-yard wheel route to Dominique Gibson that caught Miami off guard for the go-ahead score.

Then it was the Duke Johnson show one last time. Johnson carried the football eight times on Miami’s next possession and he picked up his second touchdown a play after it appeared he had already done so. A video review upheld a no-touchdown call although it appeared Johnson did pick up a touchdown. Regardless, Johnson finished the job one play later and Miami held on..

Miami escaped, but they made plays when they absolutely needed to do so. But how much confidence will Miami take from this game before heading to Tallahassee next week to take on Florida State? Wake Forest was methodical with their offensive approach, and it worked well. Florida State should be able to take advantage of the some weaknesses exposed in Miami’s defense, and with a much more talented roster Florida State should be able to break open some bigger plays than Wake Forest was able to.

Miami remains undefeated, but they have cracks.