Wisconsin 34, No. 25 Duke 20
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Terrell Fletcher once again came up big when Wisconsin needed him, powering the Badgers to a 34-20 Hall of Fame Bowl victory over Duke on Monday after they had blown a 13-point lead.
Fletcher rushed 39 times for 241 yards, both bowl records. Both of his scoring runs _ from 1 and 49 yards _ and 160 of his yards came on three touchdown drives after the Blue Devils tied it at 13 early in the second half.
It marked the second time in as many games that Fletcher set a career-high rushing total. With a berth in the Hall of Fame Bowl on the line, the 5-foot-9 senior rushed for 192 yards to lead the Badgers past Illinois in their regular-season finale.
The Badgers (7-4-1) won four of their last five games in what turned out to be a season of distractions.
Coming off a 1993 campaign that featured a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory, Wisconsin this season made much of its news off the field. Two Badgers were suspended for their alleged involvement in a shoplifting matter, and the team lost two players in separate cocaine incidents, including top running back Brent Moss.
No. 25 Duke (8-4) lost four of five after a school-record 7-0 start under first-year coach Fred Goldsmith.
The Blue Devils rallied from a disastrous start in which Spence Fischer was intercepted on Duke’s first three possessions. Wisconsin turned two of those interceptions into 10 points on the way to a 13-0 lead.
The second of Wisconsin’s two lost fumbles led to a 30-yard field goal by Duke’s Tom Cochran that made it 13-13 just before the midway point of the third quarter.
But Wisconsin responded with a 76-yard drive in which Fletcher rushed eight times for 56 yards, including a 1-yard burst that put the Badgers ahead to stay with 4:05 left in the third.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Wisconsin put together an 83-yard drive _ including 38 rushing yards by Fletcher _ that ended on an 11-yard scoring pass from Darrell Bevell to Jason Burns that made it 27-13.
Duke came back with a 80-yard drive, cutting it to 27-20 on Robert Baldwin’s second scoring run, a 2-yarder with 4:10 left.
But Wisconsin sealed it with an 83-yard march. This time, Fletcher rushed for 66 yards, including a 49-yard burst up the right sideline for the final score at the 1:59 mark.
With 7:26 left in the first quarter, Fischer already had matched his career-worst single-game performance with the three interceptions. By the time the quarter ended, the junior also had been sacked once, hurried three times and taken a pair of hard shots in the pocket.
At that point, the Badgers were up 13-0. But the Blue Devils’ offensive line and Fisher bounced back and Wisconsin damaged itself with five second-quarter penalties, including a holding call that wiped out a 29-yard scoring run by Fletcher.
Fischer was 4-of-4 for 45 yards on a 90-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Baldwin, the player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Blue Devils cut it to 13-10 on Cochran’s 30-yard field goal with five seconds left in the half.