Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Duke Johnson's second rushing touchdown of the contest came inside the final minute of regulation, helping No. 7 Miami- Florida fend off Wake Forest and claim a 24-21 victory in an ACC clash on Saturday.
Johnson finished with a game-best 168 yards on 30 carries for the Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 ACC), who face a big test next week in a primetime matchup at third- ranked Florida State.
"I wanted the ball," Johnson said. "So I went to coach, and we talked about it, and coach said 'We're going to put it in your hands.'"
Stephen Morris completed 17-of-28 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown to Herb Waters, who finished with 47 yards on four grabs for Miami.
Tanner Price ended up with 302 yards, two touchdowns and a late interception for the Demon Deacons (4-4, 2-3), whose two-game win streak came to an end despite a valiant effort.
Michael Campanaro finished with 88 yards and a touchdown on a game-high 10 receptions and Dominique Gibson recorded a 44-yard TD with 4:02 left which gave Wake Forest a four-point edge it could not maintain.
The Demon Deacons were bidding for their first win over Miami since 1944 and only their second victory against a top-10 opponent in program history, but fell tantalizingly short.
Holding the ball with just over 5 1/2 minutes remaining, Wake kept its drive alive with a Price completion to Jared Crump on 4th-and-5 to foray into Hurricanes territory. One play later, Gibson shook off a tackle on the right sideline after making a catch and rumbled 44 yards to give the visitors a 21-17 edge with 4:02 on the clock.
The Hurricanes got the ball back and moved 73 yards in 10 plays. On the ninth, Johnson appeared to have crossed the goal line with the ball as he turned the corner towards the left pylon. A lengthy review determined the ball did not cross the plane before Johnson's knee hit the ground.
However, Johnson made good on the next down and the Hurricanes led 24-21 with 53 seconds left.
Price and the Deacons were set up on their own 25, and after an incompletion, Antonio Crawford's interception ended any hopes of a comeback.
"It's tough in there right now," Price said, referring to the Wake Forest locker room. "It's really hard when you come this close and you don't come away with the W. It was right there in our grasp."
Wake Forest hit the scoreboard first, as Josh Harris broke through for a 12- yard run in the latter stages of the opening quarter to cap a 16-play drive.
Miami responded early in the second on a 34-yard field goal by Matt Goudis, but the Deacons moved ahead by a 14-3 count during the ensuing drive, capped by a 9-yard connection from Price to Campanaro.
The Hurricanes climbed within four 1:10 before the break as Waters came down with a Morris heave in the end zone for a 35-yard hookup.
Following a scoreless third quarter, the Hurricanes took their first lead of the contest at 17-14 with 5:36 remaining, via a 4-yard touchdown run from Johnson. The go-ahead score was set up by the Miami defense pinning Wake Forest deep in its own territory, and the subsequent punt gave the hosts possession on their own 49.
Miami-Florida has won seven in a row over Wake Forest since 1944 and improved to 8-3 all-time against their Saturday opponents ... The Demon Deacons fell to 1-53 all-time against top-10 programs ... Price completed 25-of-45 passes ... Earlier in the week, the Miami program was hit with mild sanctions by the NCAA following an investigation into booster-related activities. The program will lose three football scholarships in each of the next three seasons for a total of nine, but this year's team will finally be able to play in the postseason after the school had self-imposed a bowl ban since the investigation officially began in August 2011.