(Jason Schott – New York Sports Day)
Duke University and Indiana University will face off in the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, December 26, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
The Blue Devils and Hoosiers will meet on a football field for just the fourth time ever and for the first time since 1984.
Duke, led by head coach David Cutcliffe, will be making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance and 12th all-time. The Blue Devils finished the regular season with a 7-5 record, including a 34-20 home victory over then No. 20-ranked Georgia Tech onSeptember 26, and a 45-43 win at Virginia Tech on October 24, in the first 4OT game in ACC history.
Duke’s defense was anchored by senior safety Jeremy Cash, who was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year after finishing the regular season among the top-10 in the nation in tackles-for-loss 18 and among conference leaders in total tackles with 101. Winner of the 2015 Jim Tatum Award, which is given to the nation’s top senior student-athlete in athletic eligibility, Cash is also one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top defensive back) and one of five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy (awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.
Redshirt junior quarterback Thomas Sirk led Duke’s offense in both passing yards (2,462) and rushing yards (648). He finished the regular season ranked second in the ACC with an average 282.7 yards of total offense per game (11 games, 3,110 total yards). Sirk was also named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week on October 26, after completing 19-of-39 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 109 yards on 18 carries in the aforementioned 4OT victory at Virginia Tech two days prior. Two of Sirk’s touchdown passes came in overtime periods after Virginia Tech had scored to take the lead.
Duke University Head Football Coach David Cutcliffe said, “To be chosen to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl brings an incredible level of excitement to our program. Playing in our fourth consecutive bowl game means a great deal to our past, present and future Blue Devils. This senior class is obviously a special one, and I could not be happier for a group of young men that has accomplished what no other class has done in the history of Duke Football with the four straight bowl game appearances. We are thrilled to keep building our program while playing in front of so many Duke University alums and supporters in New York.”
Indiana, led by head coach Kevin Wilson, will be making its 10th bowl appearance all-time and first since 2007. The Hoosiers finished the regular season with a 6-6 record, including a 38-35 home victory over Western Kentucky on September 19, and a 54-36 win at Purdue on November 28, in the traditional Old Oaken Bucket game.
Junior running back Jordan Howard earned 2015 All-Big Ten First Team accolades, ranking ninth in the nation with 134.8 rushing yards per game (nine games, 1,213 yards). Senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Third Team, throwing for a conference-leading 3,184 yards with a 24/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Redshirt sophomore kicker Griffin Oakes was named the Big Ten’s Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year after he placed in the top-10 in the nation in both field goal percentage (88.0%, 22-for-25) and field goals made.
Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass said, “Our team has earned this great opportunity to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. This will showcase our team in one of the world’s truly iconic sporting venues against a high quality opponent in the Duke Blue Devils. We are excited to bring Hoosier Nation to the Big Apple for the holidays as ‘Candy Stripes go Pinstripes’ onDecember 26th. Coach Wilson and I just told the team and they are very excited.”
The 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be the second game in the Bowl’s history to feature teams from the Big Ten and ACC. Each respective conference has entered into multi-year agreements with the New York Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to have a representative school play in the game.
Mark Holtzman, Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, said, “We are excited that the student-athletes and alumni of two iconic institutions in Duke University and Indiana University will be joining us for the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The experience that New York City, our Bowl game and Yankee Stadium offer during the holiday season is second to none. We are delighted to play a part in helping to create what will undoubtedly be a memorable experience for all.”