A&M WINS THRILLER

Jan. 01, 2014 @ 12:02 AM

The New Year’s fireworks started early at the Chick-fil-A Bowl Tuesday night in Atlanta. When the smoke settled, Duke had come up just short in its attempt to win a bowl game for the first time since 1961, falling to Texas A&M 52-48 in a classic at the Georgia Dome.

Coming off a school-record 10-win season and the Coastal Division title, the Blue Devils went toe-to-toe with 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the Aggies, but a 55-yard interception return by Toney Hurd give Texas A&M the lead with 3:33 remaining, and another interception by Nate Askew with 1:19 left sealed the win.

Duke (10-4) scored touchdowns on its first five possessions and went into halftime with a 38-17 lead, but Texas A&M (9-4) stormed back with touchdowns on its first five second-half possessions in the final college football game of 2013.

Manziel finished 30 of 38 passing for 382 yards and four touchdowns and added 11 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. Duke quarterback Anthony Boone was 29 of 45 for 427 yards and receiver Jamison Crowder, who became the first player in ACC history with 100 catches, had 12 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown.

Still, with all the offensive firepower, the Aggies’ defense was able to make enough stops to produce the win. Hurd’s interception produced Texas A&M’s first lead of the game, and Askew’s interception at the Aggies’ 43 ended Duke’s chances.