The Blue Devils will head West to try and earn win No. 10.
Duke (9-3) has a date with No. 15 Arizona State (9-3) in the Dec. 27th Sun Bowl, which is played in El Paso, Tex. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. EST.
The matchup with the Pac-12 and game in the mountain time zone will give Duke exposure on the West Coast, which is an important recruiting area for the Blue Devils. The game will also mark the first time Duke has ever played Arizona State.
The Sun Devils were still in contention for the Pac-12 South Division title on the last weekend of the regular season but lost 42-35 at archival Arizona. Their other losses came at home to UCLA (62-27 on Sept. 25th and at Oregon State (35-27 on Nov. 15th).
Arizona State’s offense ranks 18th nationally with an average of 37.0 points scored per game and averages 446.5 yards of offense per contest, too (good for 34th nationally). Junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong was a first-team all-Pac-12 selection, with 75 receptions for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. Left tackle Jamil Douglas, a senior with NFL potential, was also a first-team all-conference selection on offense. Junior running back D.J. Foster (1002 yards on 183 attempts, an average of 5.5 yards per carry) was named to the second team.
Defensively, the Sun Devils give up an average of 418.5 yards per game, which ranks 86th nationally and 8th in the Pac-12. The unit can wreak havoc, though, as Arizona State ranks in the top 10 nationally in terms of sacks (39.0) and tackles for loss (97.0). The defense has also forced 25 turnovers and scored five touchdowns.
Duke will be looking for its first back-to-back 10-win seasons ever—Arizona State has the chance to achieve that feat for the first time since 1970-1973.
While many Duke football futility records have fallen in the past three seasons, the Blue Devils are still looking for their first bowl win since the 1961 Cotton Bowl.
“We’ve played well but haven’t won,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said of the close losses in the 2012 Belk Bowl and 2013 Peach Bowl. “I know (winning is) important to our seniors.”