Duke football ends chaotic season on positive note with Birmingham Bowl victory

The Duke football team ended the season with a victory over Troy in the Birmingham Bowl.
76 Birmingham Bowl - Troy v Duke
76 Birmingham Bowl - Troy v Duke / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

It has been a strange Duke football season.

From a upset victory over Clemson in the season opener, to being ranked as high as No. 16 and having College GameDay come to Durham for the first time this season, and then having Mike Elko leave in the middle of the night to accept the Texas A&M vacany.

It all came to an end on Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama with a 17-10 victory over Troy in the Birmingham Bowl.

The one constant that has been omnipresent for the Blue Devils this season has been its defense and it shined once again, sealing the game with an interception by Jeremiah Lewis as Trojans had a chance to tie the game with 1:31 remaining.

Duke was able to hold Troy to 3-of-12 on 3rd down and 0-for-3 on 4th down under interim head coach Trooper Taylor as the offense sputtered throughout the game.

The Blue Devils opened the scoring with a touchdown behind a 1-yard rush from Jaylen Coleman and a 2-point conversion with 2:29 left in the first quarter on a direct snap to tight end Nicky Dalmolin.

Each coaching staff -- both working on an interim basis -- was very aggressive but a pair of field goals on an 11-play and 14-play drive, respectively, put Duke up 14-0 at halftime.

Troy's only touchdown came on a 10-play, 87-yard drive following a Grayson Loftis interception but its defense held in the 2-minute drill after the Blue Devils killed 4:07 off the clock following the score.

Loftis was 19-of-29 for 183 yards as Jaquez Moore led the backfield with 73 yards.

Chandler Rivers was named as the Birmingham Bowl Most Valuable Player.

Duke will now officially turn the reins of the program Manny Diaz, who as in attendance on Saturday afternoon. Diaz is expected to announce his coaching staff soon as maneuvering around the transfer portal will be the biggest priority for the team.

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