Duke's defense was anchored by senior safety Jeremy Cash who was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year after finishing the regular season among the top-10 in the nation in tackles-for-loss (18) and among conference leaders in total tackles (101). Winner of the 2015 Jim Tatum Award (given to the nation's top senior student-athlete in athletic eligibility), Cash is also one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award (awarded to the nation's top defensive back) and one of five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy (awarded to the nation's top defensive player).
Redshirt junior quarterback Thomas Sirk led Duke's offense in both passing yards (2,462) and rushing yards (648). He finished the regular season ranked second in the ACC with an average 282.7 yards of total offense per game (11 games, 3,110 total yards). Sirk was also named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week on October 26, after completing 19-of-39 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 109 yards on 18 carries in the aforementioned 4OT victory at Virginia Tech two days prior. Two of Sirk's touchdown passes came in overtime periods after Virginia Tech had scored to take the lead.
"To be chosen to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl brings an incredible level of excitement to our program. Playing in our fourth consecutive bowl game means a great deal to our past, present and future Blue Devils," said David Cutcliffe, Duke University Head Football Coach. "This senior class is obviously a special one, and I could not be happier for a group of young men that has accomplished what no other class has done in the history of Duke Football with the four straight bowl game appearances. We are thrilled to keep building our program while playing in front of so many Duke University alums and supporters in New York. "
Indiana, led by head coach Kevin Wilson, will be making its 10th bowl appearance all-time and first since 2007. The Hoosiers finished the regular season with a 6-6 record, including a 38-35 home victory over Western Kentucky on September 19, and a 54-36 win at Purdue on November 28, in the traditional Old Oaken Bucket game.
Junior running back Jordan Howard earned 2015 All-Big Ten First Team accolades, ranking ninth in the nation with 134.8 rushing yards per game (nine games, 1,213 yards). Senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Third Team, throwing for a conference-leading 3,184 yards with a 24/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Redshirt sophomore kicker Griffin Oakes was named the Big Ten's Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year after he placed in the top-10 in the nation in both field goal percentage (88.0%, 22-for-25) and field goals made.
"Our team has earned this great opportunity to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl," said Fred Glass, Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics. "This will showcase our team in one of the world's truly iconic sporting venues against a high quality opponent in the Duke Blue Devils. We are excited to bring Hoosier Nation to the Big Apple for the holidays as 'Candy Stripes go Pinstripes' on December 26th. Coach Wilson and I just told the team and they are very excited."
The 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be the second game in the Bowl's history to feature teams from the Big Ten and ACC. Each respective conference has entered into multi-year agreements with the New York Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to have a representative school play in the game.
"We are excited that the student-athletes and alumni of two iconic institutions in Duke University and Indiana University will be joining us for the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl," said Mark Holtzman, Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. "The experience that New York City, our Bowl game and Yankee Stadium offer during the holiday season is second to none. We are delighted to play a part in helping to create what will undoubtedly be a memorable experience for all."
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl's attendance figures have increased in every season since the inaugural contest in 2010. In 2014, the Bowl's highest all-time attendance figure was established as a sellout crowd of 49,012 saw Penn State defeat Boston College.
This year will be the first time that ESPN will televise the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on ABC after carrying it for five years on ESPN (2010-14). ESPN Radio will also broadcast the game.
Special events, promotions and community outreach will take place throughout New Era Pinstripe Bowl week to once again create an unforgettable experience for fans, families, students and staff. A special trophy tour will also see the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy visit the campuses of both Duke University and Indiana University.
Tickets for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl are currently on sale at www.pinstripebowl.com, the official website of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and www.ticketmaster.com. For up-to-the-moment information regarding the game, fans are also encouraged to follow the Bowl game's official Twitter and Instagram accounts - @PinstripeBowl.
About the New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has featured some of the most memorable moments in recent college football history. Known as "New York's Bowl Game," it is played at the world-renowned Yankee Stadium, which is home to the New York Yankees, New York City Football Club and many other sporting, cultural and business events. The 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 26, at 3:30 p.m. on ABC, featuring Duke University and Indiana University.