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Duke has no problem with UCF in Military Bowl

Dec 28, 2022; Annapolis, Maryland, USA; Duke Blue Devils wide receiver Jalon Calhoun (5) rushes during the first half against the Central Florida Knights in the 2022 Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Riley Leonard totaled 236 yards of offense as Duke topped UCF 30-13 at the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday.

Leonard completed 19-of-28 passes for 173 yards, carried the ball 10 times for 63 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.

The victory for Duke (9-4) marked its first bowl win since 2018 and gave the Blue Devils their first nine-win season since 2014. It was just the seventh time in program history that Duke won nine or more games in a single season.

John Rhys Plumlee led UCF (9-5) with 203 yards of total offense, including 182 passing. Isaiah Bowser scored both of the Knights’ touchdowns on short runs.

Duke rushed for 177 yards and each of its three touchdowns came on the ground. Leonard’s first score of the day, a 1-yard second quarter punch-in, gave Duke 30 rushing scores on the season to set a program record. The score put Duke on top 17-7.

The Blue Devils extended that mark when Leonard scored from 3 yards out to seal the victory with 2:29 to play in the game.

Jacquez Moore got the Blue Devils on the scoreboard with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter on a 14-yard TD run. Moore had 43 yards on 12 carries.

Following a career-long 48-yard field goal from Todd Pelino, Duke took a 20-7 lead into halftime. The Blue Devils benefited in the first half from a Tre Freeman sack – the first of his career – a reversed call on a fumble, and a roughing-the-passer call against UCF on a third down.

UCF didn’t tally a tackle-for-loss until the third quarter and had difficulty stopping Duke’s offense.

The Blue Devils had six sacks and a late fourth quarter interception by freshman Chandler Rivers.

Duke won despite playing without leading tackler Shaka Heyward, who was recovering from a tonsillectomy.

–Field Level Media