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Duke caps turnaround with Military Bowl matchup against UCF

Military Bowl: Duke (8-4) vs. UCF (9-4), Dec. 28, 2 p.m. EST (ESPN)

FanDuel Sportsbook College Line: Duke by 3 1/2

Series record: First meeting.


UCF is trying for its fourth 10-win season in the past six years and first since 2019. Duke can earn its fourth consecutive bowl victory.


Duke’s running game vs. UCF’s defense. The Blue Devils led the Atlantic Coast Conference in time of possession, and that could be a particularly big factor against Knights coach Gus Malzahn, who is known for his up-tempo approach. The key may be how quickly UCF’s defense can get off the field.


Duke: WR Jalon Calhoun needs 189 yards receiving to reach 1,000 this season. No Duke player has done that since future NFL receiver Jamison Crowder in 2014.

UCF: QB John Rhys Plumlee has had a big year passing and running, although he was hampered by a hamstring injury — to the point where he split time with Thomas Castellanos in the American Athletic Conference championship game.


Duke’s Mike Elko won ACC coach of the year honors in his first season with the Blue Devils. He took over a program that went winless in conference play last year. He is the second coach in school history to have his team bowl eligible in his first season. … UCF is making a school-record seventh consecutive bowl appearance. … Duke and UCF have two common opponents this season. The Knights beat Georgia Tech and Temple while Duke split its two games against those teams. … Plumlee has 11 rushing touchdowns, one shy of the program’s single-season record for a QB. Daunte Culpepper had 12 in 1998. … This is the first time since 1953 that Duke made it through the regular season without losing at least one game by double digits.


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