NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, December 26, 2015, 7:40 PM
Duke safety Phillip Carter celebrates an intercepton against Indiana on Saturday in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Back and forth they went at the Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx, Duke and Indiana throwing the ball deep and breaking through each other’s porous defenses with tailbacks and quarterbacks going untouched. There was an onside kick in the opening quarter, an 85-yard run up the middle and another dash for 73 yards. Even the kickers displayed strength with Duke’s converting a field goal from 52 yards out and Indiana’s matching from 45 yards. A Duke return man ran back a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. The game was tied up at 41-41 with 41 seconds remaining.
Indiana kicker Griffin Oakes then missed a 56-yard field goal attempt to end regulation.
Neither coach found a defense under his Christmas tree. There were fades to the corner of the end zone and a punt fake that failed. Even a Hoosier named Alex Rodriguez registered a touchdown on a 10-yard run. The teams combined for a total of 1,203 yards and Duke emerged with the win, 44-41, in overtime after Oakes missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk accounted for 318 total yards before leaving with an injury in overtime. His most important play came in the fourth quarter when he took a snap in the shotgun, caught it and surged ahead for a five-yard touchdown run. That tied the game at 41-41. He was relieved by reserve Parker Boehme.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk rushes for 155 yards and two touchdowns and also throws one in a 44-41 victory over Indiana at Yankee Stadium.
It was a timely run earlier that proved his most dynamic on the day. In the second quarter, he paused as if readying to throw. He immediately tucked the ball and took off, though. He moved forward a few yards before stalling behind his lead guard, Tanner Stone. Sirk eyed an opening and sprinted forward. Indiana defensive backs gave chase, but he outlasted them all to record a 73-yard touchdown run. That was the longest of the day, but he finished with 155 yards on the ground. His pitfall came when he was picked off with less than a minute left in the third quarter. Indiana was leading 31-27 at the time and Duke had driven down field to respond.
Teammate Shaun Wilson proved a perfect complement on the ground, but his throwing could use work. Wilson broke off an 85-yard touchdown run and returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. He was picked off the one time that he threw.
Indiana did not reveal that it would be playing without tailback Jordan Howard until kickoff. He rushed for 1,213 yards during the regular season to earn All-Big 10 honors, but Devine Redding carried the load. He rushed 35 times for 227 yards. On one play, he scampered for a 17-yard touchdown run. On another, he scrambled around for 39 yards, faking a pitch at one point before going ahead.
Indiana receiver Mitchell Paige pumps up the Hoosier fans after a touchdown.
No player drew the spotlight as often as Duke’s DeVon Edwards. On the opening series, he earned a pass defense when he deflected a ball coming toward his assignment. He then downed a ball at the one-yard line on a punt to further contribute, but soon surrendered a 55-yard catch to Simmie Cobbs Jr. Fellow defensive back Phillip Carter picked off Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld on the ensuing play to cover up that mistake, but Edwards later drew a flag for pass interference in the end zone. Three plays later, Indiana scored on a Redding rush to take a 14-10 lead. Another flag came his way in the third quarter.
Duke’s defense battled to hold Indiana down without the services of safety Jeremy Cash, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and an NFL prospect. He was the anchor on a unit that otherwise struggled to slow opponents down the backstretch of the season. Sudfeld started slow, getting picked off when he threw a ball into traffic and a defender tipped it before another secured the ball. Still, Sudfeld eventually settled in, both firing and feathering passes around the field. He found wideout Nick Westbrook in the back of the end zone for one score.