Duke looked nothing like a bowl-caliber team in its regular-season finale against Wake Forest last weekend. But on the heels of another strong nonconference slate, the Blue Devils will return to the postseason for a second straight year.
After finishing its 2018 campaign with a 7-5 record, Duke will head to Shreveport, La. for a Dec. 27 matchup with Temple in the Walk-On's Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium at 1:30 p.m. The Blue Devils have never faced the Owls in program history.
Duke opened its season with a home win vs. Army before going on the road to take out Northwestern and Baylor, a game in which the Blue Devils played without starting quarterback Daniel Jones. A win against crosstown rival N.C. Central then pushed Duke to 4-0 before Virginia Tech came to Durham and handed the Blue Devils their first loss of the year in Jones' return to action.
Duke won in just one of its first four ACC games, but the Blue Devils showed some grit to come from behind in the rain at Miami in order to reach six wins and secure bowl eligibility. Duke then won again to claim the Victory Bell in a rivalry matchup with North Carolina before getting blown out by Clemson and the Demon Deacons in its last two games.
Temple finished the season strong after a disappointing 0-2 start, winning eight of its last 10 games capped by a blowout 57-7 victory at Connecticut in its season finale—almost the exact opposite of the way the Blue Devils finished. The Owls are led by senior running back Ryquell Armstead, who ran for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season, and scores 35.6 points per game. Junior wide receiver Isaiah Wright was named the American Athletic Conference's Special Teams Player of the Year, and Temple also had four defensive first-team All-AAC selections.
A win in Shreveport later this month would give the Blue Devils a third bowl win in the last four seasons. Duke earned its first postseason victory in more than 50 years when it beat Indiana at the Pinstripe Bowl in 2015. The Blue Devils then, after missing out on a bowl game in 2016, won in their season finale last year to snag a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, where they dominated Northern Illinois 36-14.