MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Duke Johnson ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, the second a 1-yard plunge with 53 seconds left, as No. 7 Miami rallied twice to beat Wake Forest 24-21 on Saturday and remain unbeaten.
Johnson finished with 168 yards on 30 carries for the Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference),
Tanner Price’s 44-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Gibson with 4:02 remaining put Wake Forest on top, but the Hurricanes went 73 yards on their next 10 plays, with Johnson scoring to keep Miami unbeaten heading into next week’s showdown at No. 3 Florida State.
Wake Forest (4-4, 2-3 fell to 1-53 all-time against Top 10 teams — the lone win coming exactly 67 years ago Saturday. The Demon Deacons trailed for less than 3 minutes against the Hurricanes, and still dropped their fifth straight in the series.
Antonio Crawford’s interception sealed the win with 37 seconds left for Miami, which was playing its first game since the NCAA investigation into the Nevin Shapiro scandal ended earlier in the week — culminating a 2-year saga for the Hurricanes.
After Johnson’s first score of the game put Miami up 17-14 late in the fourth quarter, Wake Forest found an answer.
Price connected with Jared Crump for an 11-yard gain on 4th-and-5 from the Wake Forest 45 with 4:30 remaining. On the next snap, he found Gibson on the right sideline, linebacker Tyrone Cornelius wound up missing on the tackle, and Gibson took off on a 44-yard play that put the Demon Deacons up 21-17 with 4:02 left.
But for the second straight game, Miami found a way to get a win in the final moments, and matched their best start since 2003.
Price threw for 302 yards and Michael Campanaro had 10 catches for 88 yards for the Demon Deacons. Stephen Morris threw for 191 yards for Miami, including a touchdown pass to Herb Waters.
Wake Forest set the tone from the outset, going 16 plays and getting a touchdown on the game’s first drive. None of the plays gained more than 14 yards, and the 79-yard march — capped by Josh Harris’ 12-yard run — chewed nearly 9 minutes off the clock. In terms of plays (by two) and time (by more than 2 minutes), it was Wake Forest’s longest scoring drive of the season.
Miami was simply on its heels. The Hurricanes went three-and-out on their ensuing drive, and didn’t get the ball again until the second quarter. At one point early in the second quarter, Wake Forest was outgaining Miami 124 yards to 8 and enjoying nearly a 10-to-1 edge in time of possession.
And after Miami got on the board with a field goal, the Demon Deacons rode the strength of a big play to take a two-score edge.
Price found Tyree Harris with a 56-yard third-down pass midway through the second quarter, getting Wake Forest into the Miami red zone. Four plays later — on 4th-and-1 — Price connected with Campanaro from 9 yards out to put the Demon Deacons up 14-3, the biggest deficit the Hurricanes had faced since the Florida State game on Oct. 20, 2012.
Late in the half, Miami seemed to finally get something going.
Facing third-and-short with about 1:30 left, Morris faked a handoff and fired a fastball down the right hash marks that seemed to be sailing high — before tight end Clive Walford snared it with his right hand and somehow held on through the tackle. One play later, Morris connected with Waters for a 35-yard scoring strike, getting the Hurricanes within 14-10 at halftime.
Midway through the third, Miami was inside the Wake Forest 10, but Dallas Crawford was stopped by safety Anthony Wooding, who shook off a block and wrapped him up just shy of what would have been a first down. And when Miami elected not to go for it on another fourth-down opportunity early in the fourth, there was more than a little bit of booing at Sun Life Stadium.
Ultimately, the field-position game proved effective. Miami downed a punt at the Wake Forest 3, forced a three-and-out, and Johnson put the Hurricanes ahead for the first time 4 minutes later.