2012 Belk Bowl: Cutcliffe revives the program
The two head coaches that preceded David Cutcliffe at Duke posted records of 7-40 (Carl Franks) and 6-45 (Ted Roof), so it seemed like a miracle when Cutcliffe took over in 2008 and managed to go 15-33 across his first four seasons. Then in 2012, he finally got the Blue Devils bowl eligible with a 6-6 regular season.
However, he was still a year away from his first season finishing over .500. Duke got out to a 16-0 first-quarter lead over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, but then allowed 27 unanswered points en route to a 48-34 loss. Travis Kelce finished with five catches for 123 yards and a touchdown to lead Cincinnati, but the Bearcats spread the wealth with five different players reaching the end zone.
Sean Renfree threw for 358 yards and a touchdown on 37/49 passing for the Blue Devils, but he threw two interceptions and Duke turned the ball over four times in the game.