Shreveport, LA – Temple Owls (8-5, 7-1 AAC)led by 27-14 in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl and went into the half looking good with a 27- 21 lead over their ACC opponent. Duke Blue Devils (8-5,3-5) had other plans, coming out of the locker rooms on fire in what is technically a comeback victory.
Duke put up 21 points in the third quarter alone, and with the help of the record breaking duo of quarterback Daniel Jones (17) and wide receiver T.J. Rahming (3) they ended with a 56-27 victory.
The game long touchdown pass came halfway into the third quarter on the second play of a Duke drive. Jones meet up with Rahming to complete an 85 yard bomb, the longest in Blue Devil bowl history. Putting them up by more than two touchdowns.
Dukes head coach David Cutcliffe said of his offensive duo, “Daniel set protections and got routes adjusted… T.J. he’s in the center of all the things. We felt we could attack them in the middle of the field, which we were able to do.”
The Owls started out with a strong defensive showing, scoring two touchdowns from turnovers in the first half and hassling Jones (17) and caused him to leave the game limping for a short period.
The first Temple defensive TD came from a 52 yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Delvon Randall (2). The other from Linwood Crump (11) interception that lead to a Rob Ritrovato 1 yard TD rush to put them up by 13 with 10:25 left in the second quarter. That would be the last time the Owls would score in Shreveport.
The Blue Devils put up 42 unanswered points and in the process Jones, Rahming and Duke combined to break 8 Independence Bowl records.
Dukes defense stepped up in the second half. Temple went to the half with 227 yards on offense, but only gain another 54 yards the rest of the game.
Cutcliffe commented on his defense saying, “I think that’s as good a job I’ve seen of a young defense, and the coaches turning it around in a half. That was amazing.”
Dukes 56 points with 8 touchdowns tops the previous 55 points from Virginia Tech in the 2015 Independence bowl.
Jones went 30-41 for 423 yards and combined for 6 touchdowns (5 pass, 1 rush). Setting Independence Bowl records for most completions, most combined touchdowns and most passing touchdowns.
Along with Rahming Independence Bowl receiving record of 240 yards the Blue Devils left the Owls in the rear-view mirror and never looked back to win the 4th straight Independence bowl for the ACC.