After Duke football beat North Carolina 33-30 in thrilling fashion Saturday to clinch a bowl berth, lots has been made about this being the team’s first bowl game since the 1994 season.
But when exactly was Duke offered its bowl berth in that 1994 season? It was November, 28 1994 when the Blue Devils were offered a spot in that year’s Hall of Fame Bowl.
We dug through The Chronicle’s archives, and here is a snippet from the 1994 article, “Blue Devils reach Hall of Fame.” Check it out:
The Blue Devils, who have been to only one bowl since 1960 — the 1989 All-American Bowl — reversed their record from last year and finished the season 8-3. The “Cinderella” season will continue on Jan. 2 in Tampa, Fla., when Duke takes on Wisconsin at 11 a.m. in Tampa Stadium.
“This is where I wanted to go after I realized that we couldn’t go to the Cotton Bowl,” Blue Devil wide receiver Corey Thomas said. “It’s the next best place to go. One thing about this New Year is that we can bring it in playing football, which is something nobody on this team has ever done before. So that’s very exciting, everybody is ready to get down to it.”
The Hall of Fame Bowl pits the fourth pick from the Big Ten Conference against the fourth selection from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wisconsin was invited to the game last week. The Blue Devils were invited after Florida State received a bid to the Sugar Bowl, North Carolina took a bid to the Sun Bowl and N.C. State accepted the Peach Bowl’s bid earlier on Monday afternoon. It was then up to the Hall of Fame to decide between Duke and Virginia, who both finished the season with 8-3 records.
“Basically, it would have been a winning situation regardless of who we choose between Duke and Virginia,” said Hall of Fame Bowl head of media relations Mike Schulze. “But we felt that Duke having such a great year and the excitement level of their fans — those were the real keys. They were the more deserving team in our opinion.”
In addition, the Blue Devils defeated the Cavaliers 28-25 earlier this season on Nov. 5 in Wallace Wade Stadium. That victory is most likely what put Duke in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Even with two consecutive one-point losses to end the regular season, Duke was an attractive choice for the Hall of Fame Bowl.
“On behalf of the Duke Blue Devils and staff, we are grateful for the confidence that the Hall of Fame Bowl has placed in us,” said Duke head coach Fred Goldsmith. “We look forward to playing in perhaps one of the finest bowls for our team to be in, and we are thrilled with the opportunity to play in January and represent the Atlantic Coast Conference.”