We've seen some crazy things here at Crystal Ball Run this season, but the Belk Bowl could be one of the craziest of the year.
Duke had all of five yards to go in order to win a bowl game for the first time in 51 years and with just 1:20 left in the game Duke's terrible past came back to haunt them as they fumbled the ball at the Bearcats 5 on a rushing play. Cincy threw an 83 yard TD for good measure and it ended 48-34 in favor of the Bearcats thanks to a late game defensive TD for Cincy.
If you're a Blue Devils fan you'll have to wait another year to end your now 52 year bowl game victory drought. But hey, at least you got the bowl game drought over with…. that's something, right?
Then there's Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay, who exploded on to the national radar with his 332 yards and 4TD performance. Kay's 4 touchdowns passing were a Belk Bowl record and he also added 76 yards rushing to really crush the spirits of the Blue Devils at times.
You'd be forgiven if you thought this one was going to be about the running game because we all knew both teams could throw the football. Going into the final minutes you were about to be dead wrong. Then the fumble heard around Bank of America Stadium happened and the running game ended up taking front and center in Duke's loss.
Don't get me wrong, this was one of the best played games all around in bowl season as all sorts of crazy stuff went down. It included defensive touchdowns, two quarterbacks throwing for over 300 yards and a team that was down to just five coaches on the sideline.
Cincy took a massive punch from the Blue Devils right off the bat in this one and it appeared that the depleted coaching staff of the Bearcats was going to be their death sentence in this match. Duke scored on it's first two possessions to go up 10-0 and that's when the fun really began.
Duke blocked a Cincy punt attempt and fell on it in the endzone for a special teams TD, pushing the game to 16-0 and this one was well in hand. Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, bowl season should've taught you and I by know to expect the unexpected and that's exactly what transpired.
Tony Milano hit a 43 yard field goal late in the 1st quarter to at least steam the tide for Cincy, however it did way more than that as the flood gates of scoring opened up on the game. It was the beginning of 27 unanswered points by the Bearcats and before the Blue Devils knew what hit them they found themselves down 11 points with 7:41 left in the 3rd quarter.
Duke would answer back with two TD's of their own on either side of the start of the fourth quarter and this game was now anyone's at 31-27 Blue Devils. However, just over a minute later that lead was no longer as the 3rd of Kay's 4 TD's went to Chris Moore from 25 yards out and Cincy took a 34-31 lead.
Of course we weren't done with the drama yet and as we described earlier things just slipped away from the Blue Devils, literally.
They got a great performance out of their QB as well, with Sean Renfree going 37-49 for 358 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
In the end this will go down as one of the most entertaining games of this bowl season and if it weren't for that crazy as hell comeback by Arizona in the New Mexico bowl we'd be talking about this one being the craziest game so far this bowl season.