Indiana and Duke played Saturday, and the game at Yankee Stadium featured both a clutch postseason score by Alex Rodriguez and a controversial call on a three-pointer.
Confused? We don’t blame you. Just trust us that the New Era Pinstripe Bowl lived up to its billing as one of the wildest and most entertaining games of the bowl season, pitting two programs trying to battle their own haunted histories.
The Blue Devils prevailed, 44-41, in overtime when Griffin Oakes’ 38-yard field goal attempt was ruled a miss, even though Oakes and the Hoosiers protested that the kick, which sailed high above the left upright, was good. The kick wasn't reviewed, and Duke celebrated while Indiana looked perplexed.
But that weird final play was appropriate for this game and for both teams. Duke snapped a five-game bowl losing streak and won its first postseason game since beating Arkansas in the 1961 Cotton Bowl.
The two teams combined for more than 1,200 total yards and 57 first downs. Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk scored the game-tying touchdown on a 5-yard run with 41 seconds left in regulation, and Oakes missed a 55-yard try that would have given Indiana the win before overtime.
What the win means for Duke: David Cutcliffe has resurrected the Blue Devils program, taking them to four straight bowls. But the team has had some tortured finishes in bowls the past three years, so this one has to feel awfully good. Duke also reversed a late-season slide that saw it lose four of its final regular-season games after the Miami kick-return disaster.
What the loss means for Indiana: The Hoosiers hadn’t been to a bowl game since 2007, and this was just their second postseason game since 1993, so just getting here was a big deal. But the same old problems plagued Kevin Wilson’s team. Indiana had 667 total yards and lived on Duke’s side of the field all afternoon, but the Hoosiers just couldn’t locate enough defensive stops or avoid mistakes on special teams and in the red zone. The Hoosiers are the Sisyphus of college football.
Player of the game: Indiana star running back Jordan Howard didn’t play; he was unable to cut effectively on his injured ankle during pregame warmups. The Hoosiers didn’t miss him because Devine Redding had a career game. Redding, who ran for more than 100 yards in each of the last two regular-season games when Howard was out, carried the ball 35 times for 227 yards and a touchdown. Give a tip of the cap to the Indiana offensive line, which can make any tailback look good. That includes Rodriguez, a freshman who had his first career touchdown in the third quarter.
How the game was won: Special teams. Not only did Indiana miss those two crucial field goals -- one of which, admittedly, was extremely difficult -- it also allowed a kickoff-return touchdown and fumbled on a punt return moments after making one of its few good defensive stands. Duke was perfect on all three of its field goal tries, including the 36-yarder to win it in overtime.