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Duke’s Defense Leads It To Win Over Troy In The Birmingham Bowl, 17-10

An outstanding win to finish a sometimes challenging season and post-season

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-Troy at Duke
 Dec 23, 2023; Birmingham, AL, USA; Duke Blue Devils players and coaches celebrate with the Birmingham trophy after defeating the Troy Trojans at Protective Stadium. 
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Duke went to the Birmingham Bowl without its former head coach, starting quarterback and backup quarterback, and still won, 17-10, thanks largely to an impressive defensive performance.

Duke shut Troy out for the first two quarters and most of the third too before the Trojans got a field goal with 6:48 to go.

Duke got that three back early in the fourth and was up 17-3.

But freshman QB Grayson Loftis was hit when he was about to pass and Troy intercepted and soon scored again to make it 17-10 with 5:54 to play.

Troy had another chance to tie or take the lead when they got the ball back with 1:40 to play but Duke’s Jeremiah Lewis intercepted Gunnar Watson with 1:22 to play and that, as they say, was that. Duke just ran the clock out to record its fifth straight bowl victory.

Saying that might not seem like that much, but consider where this program used to be. It was so bad that (pre-ACC) Louisville actually sued when Duke wanted to get out of a contracted game. Duke’s reasoning to the judge? We’re so bad that no one could possibly think we’re a legit D-1 team - and the judge bought it.

This is a program now, under two consecutive coaches, that has shown immense heart and character. There are no guarantees in the future, but we like what they have shown us.

And before we forget, a special thanks to Trooper Taylor for his good work as interim coach. He’s done a fine job and we hope he gets his own head job soon.