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Cincinnati scores late to win exciting Belk Bowl

Belk Bowl - Cincinnati v Duke Getty Images

Duke’s last bowl appearance was the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl. It’s last bowl win? The 1961 Cotton Bowl.

The Blue Devils are going to have to wait a little bit longer to try to record another bowl win. Cincinnati forced a fumble deep in its own territory with under two minutes to play, drove the length of the field and then forced another fumble to secure a 48-34 win over Duke in the Belk Bowl.

Thanks to a pair of late scores by the Bearcats, the score didn’t reflect how close the game actually was. Duke jumped out to a quick 16-0 lead before Cincinnati roared back with 27 straight unanswered points. The two teams exchanged leads in the fourth quarter until a Ross Martin 52-yard field goal tied the game at 34. Duke was close to scoring again with under two minutes remaining when Josh Snead fumbled the ball and recovered by the Bearcats. It was the Blue Devils’ third turnover of the game.

That’s when Brendon Kay threw an 83-yard strike to tight end Travis Kelce for a touchdown. A sack and fumble by Duke quarterback Sean Renfree on the next possession sealed the game. Despite the turnovers, Fake Bo Pelini put it best:

It was the Belkiest, Belktastic Belk Bowl ever. Even the punting was superb.

Cincinnati was able to come away with the win without head coach Butch Jones, who left to take the Tennessee job earlier this month. It’s Cincinnati’s fifth season with at least 10 wins in the past six years. Duke, despite a good coaching job by coach David Cutcliffe, falls to 6-7.

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13 Responses to “Cincinnati scores late to win exciting Belk Bowl”
  1. scalpemseminoles says: Dec 27, 2012 10:50 PM

    That was a crazy game! From “the punt” to the two fumbles inside the 10.

  2. floriohatesthebengals says: Dec 28, 2012 12:26 AM

    Great game. Duke had 2 crucial fumbles in the red zone that was the game. Cincinnati winning with no offensive or defensive coordinators. Big win Bearcats

  3. mountainmantride says: Dec 28, 2012 12:26 AM

    Crazy? Are you kidding me, there’s a “Belk Bowl”. Whatever.

  4. tg1896 says: Dec 28, 2012 6:15 AM

    Great game. Hats off to the Dookies for a great season. Cutcliff is a credit to the ACC.

    (aTar Heel fan)

  5. 35longmiles says: Dec 28, 2012 7:04 AM


  6. chachooga says: Dec 28, 2012 8:21 AM

    ACC fan here, cheering for Duke….but dang man, is this not Duke football?

    tie game, got the ball in FG range with about a minute left…..lose by 14.

    argh….Cutcliff is doing great there.

  7. thegamecocker says: Dec 28, 2012 9:10 AM

    David Cutcliff will continue to build a solid program at Duke. I watched the entire game and it was very competitive. Cincy is a good team that can stay with anyone in any conference. They were fortunate to win given the circumstances. But I have great respect for Coach Cutcliff as he is a testament to what character and integrity mean in collegiate coaching. With Coaches’ K and Cutcliff, Duke has two of the best to lead their respective programs.

  8. dolphins4 says: Dec 28, 2012 9:33 AM

    If the Duke runningbacks knew how to hold onto the football Duke would have won.Hopefully Duke can get the talent they need to be great at football.

  9. shaunypoo says: Dec 28, 2012 10:52 AM

    Looked like a blowout for Duke in the first quarter, but turned out to be a great game. The fumble was bad, but to give an 80+ yard TD to a TE is a backbreaker.

  10. bengalsucker says: Dec 28, 2012 11:52 AM

    I like how people say Cincy was fortunate to win given the circumstances. Duke came out strong and then Cincy’s defense shut them down while Cincy scored 20+ unanswered points. Cincy made crucial plays whereas Duke did not. Cincy earned that win. It wasn’t luck or anything of the sort. And Cincy did it with a depleted coaching staff since Butch bolted for TN. They had to recruit students and husbands of faculty members to help signal plays and such. Oh and it seemed that by Duke making a bowl game, a couple of their receivers thought they were bigger than they were all throughout the game. Vernon and the other white receiver (I use his race because I don’t remember his name and don’t care to look it up..I’m white. lol) were mouthing every time they made a catch. Standing over UC defenders and getting in their faces. Even tossing the ball to UC defenders after a catch and no flags were ever thrown. Makes the win by UC all the better because now those guys look like classless buffoons. Good luck next year. Duke shouldn’t have made a bowl game anyway at 6-6.

  11. collegebasketballqueen says: Dec 28, 2012 12:41 PM

    When players have to coach themselves, Secretary’s husband’s and workstudy students are put in the postion of paid coaches, and this team is still able to pull together as a TEAM to will, that says one thing, THEY ARE A TEAM- even without a coach. After Butch bolted to Knoxville, not a lot of the players were lamenting the loss, but when Tubby was named, there was a lot of sideline cheers. Several of these players are from 2 of the strongest HS conferences in the US- per Kirk Herbstreit- and trust me, my son attended one of the schools, and they have to play teams imported from Florida, Indiana and Georgia to play in Ohio. No one in the City of Cincinnati will play them more than twice. The other league is just as tough! They know how to buckle down and just play due to the great coaching they had in HS. Duke, you are in the infancy of building a program. You are no where near as far as UC is in terms of building. And ask anyone in SW OHIO and we will gladly tell you..THERE ARE TWO D-1 programs in the State of OHIO- and OSU may be one. The other may be OHIO Univeristy, but CINCY IS THE OTHER! Welcome Aboard Tubby!

  12. igottz5onit says: Dec 28, 2012 6:10 PM

    In regards to Bengalsucker, I think Cincy deserved the win since they scored more points and there were no obvious glaring miscalls by the refs that I can recall, but why end your statement with “Duke shouldn’t even have been in this bowl game since they were 6-6” when they clearly gave Cincinnati all they could handle in this game?

  13. thegamecocker says: Dec 28, 2012 6:52 PM


    The Bearcats were lucky to win given the fact that Duke Freshmen RB’s fumbled twice within the 2 yard line. Cincy won and that’s the bottom line. ND was lucky to beat Pitt and fortunate that Barkley could not play for Southern Cal. But luck plays a part and luck was with the Bearcats yesterday. That’s not a criticism of Cincy….the Bearcats recovered the miscues and that’s the sign of a good team. The pass to the TE was incredible. It was a great game to watch ND one last thought: it was the type of game that Cinncinatti could not win. What I mean by that is Cincy was expected to win handily against a 6-6 Duke team that hasn’t been to a bowl game in forever. So when they won, the consensus was they were supposed to. And that’s the most important objective: to win the game. That the Game came down to the last :80 seconds, was more a testament to how well Duke played. Net/net, it was a entertaining game to watch.

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