Everything went wrong for the Blue Devils in the first 25 minutes of Tuesday night’s game, but they rallied in their most memorable game of the season so far to avoid a second straight defeat.

Duke beat Wisconsin 4-3 in a dramatic comeback victory that kept the fans at Koskinen Stadium on the edge of their seats, exacting revenge on the Badgers for winning the 1995 national championship game 2-0 in the two squads’ last meeting. The Blue Devils battled back from a 2-0 deficit to even the score by halftime and added two more goals in the second half to bring home the game.

Duke’s game-winning goal finally came with just 12:36 left in the match, when senior Cameron Moseley turned a long pass straight from freshman goalkeeper Will Pulisic into a breakaway, kicking the ball off the left post and into the net.

“We took too long to move the ball in the first 15 to 20 minutes and defended poorly on set pieces and paid the price,” said Blue Devil head coach John Kerr. “But we knew once we got the first goal, the second was going to come. We went into the half thinking about getting the third and fourth and had to fight for this win.”

The nightmare for Duke (5-1-1) started in the 13th minute, when Wisconsin senior midfielder Christopher Mueller nailed a corner kick into the box to forward Michael Catalano, who was in perfect position for a header to put the Badgers on the board. Minutes later, Wisconsin forward Mark Segbers scored the second goal off yet another corner kick by Mueller to put the Blue Devils in deep trouble.

Both goals Duke allowed in its 2-1 loss to then-No. 8 North Carolina Friday night also resulted from corner kicks.

But Kevon Black came to the rescue for the Blue Devils with 17:03 left in the first half. Just a few minutes after returning from a brief departure due to an elbow to the face during the Badgers’ second corner kick, the senior defender received a pass in front of the net from sophomore Daniele Proch. Black’s powerful shot landed in the top of the goal out of Wisconsin goalkeeper Phillip Shilling’s reach to put Duke on the board.

Shortly after Black’s goal, the momentum shifted further when Segbers was sent off for his second yellow card of the night after slide tackling Proch, forcing the Badgers (3-2-2) to play the rest of the game with 10 men. 

Duke quickly took advantage of having one more weapon on the field and equalized. Sophomore Jack Doran kept the ball low as he aimed for the left-hand corner of the goal, scoring for the first time in his career with a shot that whizzed past teammate Daniel Wright. 

Then, just 33 seconds into the second half, Moseley scored his first of two go-ahead goals off an assist from Black that gave him a breakaway, energizing the Blue Devils and their home crowd. 

“It gave us the lift that we need that we can score in the first five minutes of the half, and I think that set the mentality for the rest of the game,” Moseley said. “We knew we were good enough to score.”

However, after Duke was whistled for a red card of its own when freshman Matthias Frick received a second yellow card in the 76th minute. Wisconsin midfielder Mike Catalano scored on the ensuing free kick, with the play evening up both the score and the numbers of players both squads had on the field, but Moseley responded again two minutes later.

The matchup proved to be aggressive, with a total of 15 fouls for each team—the Blue Devils drew 12 whistles in the second half alone.

“Wisconsin comes from the Big Ten, a very physical league compared to the ACC, which is very fast paced,” Moseley said. “I think after the first 30 minutes of the game, when we realized they were going in for each 50-50 [ball] with all they’ve got, we adjusted pretty well.”

After prevailing in a match that featured several momentum swings and contributions deep into its bench, Duke will look to pick up its second ACC win on the road against another ranked foe in No. 11 Syracuse Friday night.