NEW YORK—After a back-and-forth first half, the Blue Devils are 30 minutes away from their first bowl victory in over 64 years.
Duke and Indiana head to the locker room tied 17-17 at Yankee Stadium after an exciting two quarters. The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter after a 52-yard field goal by Ross Martin and an 85-yard rushing touchdown by Shaun Wilson. After two scoring drives by the Hoosiers, the Blue Devils retook the lead 17-14 with a minute left in the half. But Hoosier quarterback Nate Sudfeld orchestrated another late drive, and kicker Griffin Oakes tied it for Indiana with three seconds left on a 45-yard field goal.
After the Duke defense held the Indiana offense to a a three-and-out on its first drive, Sirk led the offense 44 yards down the field before Martin's 52-yarder put Duke up 3-0.
On the ensuing Indiana drive, the Blue Devil defense came up with a big stop on fourth-and-six on their own 34 yard line to put its offense back on the field. Duke broke into the Indiana half after Jela Duncan burst through the secondary for a 32-yard run. But three plays later, a Sirk passed intended for Max McCaffery was intercepted by Rashard Fant.
Indiana then threatened to get on the board. A hands to the face penalty by A.J. Wolf gave Indiana the ball on the Duke 13. A few plays later, receiver Andre Booker bobbled a Sudfeld pass that was intercepted by linebacker Dwayne Norman on the 15 yard line.
The Blue Devils capitalized on the Sudfeld interception. On the very next play, Wilson burst through the middle and went 85 yards untouched into the end zone to put the Blue Devils up 10-0. The run ties Charlie Smith’s 1951 record for the longest run in Duke history.
The Blue Devils tried to extend their lead, but on the following kickoff, Martin’s onside attempt was easily recovered by the Hoosiers on the Indiana 45 yard line. Duke again stopped Indiana on a fourth down attempt, as Britton Greer and Carlos Wray stopped Redding in the backfield on the Duke 47 to give the offense back the ball.
The Blue Devils later got their second interception of the half, as safety Phillip Carter jumped the rout and picked off Sudfeld’s pass at the 22. The interception was Carter’s first of his career and came at a crucial time, as the Hoosiers were threatening to get on the board for the first time of the game.
Indiana got their first points with 6:56 remaining, as Sudfeld capped of a 10-play, 78-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Luke Timian to cut Duke’s lead to three.
After an eight-play, 35 yard drive, Duke gave it another go with a trick play on special teams. This time, punter Will Monday’s attempted pass to tight end Braxton Deaver was dropped by the sixth-year senior. A pass interference call on DeVon Edwards set the Hoosiers up with the ball inside their own 25 with under two-minutes to go. With 1:25 left in the half, Redding ran the ball up the middle for 17 yards to give Indiana a 14-10 lead.
The Blue Devils answered quickly, as Sirk broke through the line of scrimmage and scampered for 73 yards to give Duke a 17-14 minute with a minute left before Oakes' late field goal tied the score just before halftime.
Here are some observations from the first half:
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- Indiana's best running back, Jordan Howard, is not playing today after suffering a knee injury Nov. 21.
- Duke’s defense has kept the Blue Devils in the game, coming up with two huge fourth-down stops and two interceptions deep in Indiana territory.
- Big plays on the ground have given Duke the majority of its offense, as both touchdowns came on rushes of more than 70 yards.
- Duke had little success through the air, as Sirk finished the half just seven-of-15 for 60 yards.
- Ross Martin’s 52-yard field goal was the longest field goal in Pinstripe Bowl history and the longest in the new Yankee Stadium.
- This was the second time all season Indiana has been shut out in the first quarter.
- Sudfeld broke the Indiana single-season passing record in the half.
- Duke, known for its trick plays in bowl games, has seen both of its attempts at trickery fail, as an onside kick and fake punt went unrewarded.