Durham County

Best Gatorade bath photo? Duke’s David Cutcliffe is in it.

Duke’s David Cutcliffe has led the Blue Devils to bowl victories in two of the last three seasons.
Duke’s David Cutcliffe has led the Blue Devils to bowl victories in two of the last three seasons. bthomas@heraldsun.com

If there ever was a well-deserved Gatorade bath, then Duke football coach David Cutcliffe earned his Wednesday when the Blue Devils defeated Northern Illinois 36-14 in the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.

ESPN sports business writer Darren Rovell tweeted out a picture from Getty Images that captured the moment Cutcliffe received his “bath” from his overjoyed players on the sideline at Ford Field, a halo of Gatorade thrown from behind him perfectly framing his face. Photographer Gregory Shamus was in the right spot at the right time to snap the photo of Cutcliffe being splashed.

It’s a good thing the game was played inside. The outside temperature was an icy 2 degrees when Cutcliffe was doused. Inside, it was a balmy 70.

Duke, which started the season with a four-game winning streak but lost its next six games, ended its season on a three-game winning streak. The Blue Devils, who had gone more than 50 years between bowl victories, have won their last two post-season games.

Cutcliffe, whose Blue Devils won the Pinstripe Bowl two years ago, joined legendary coach Bill Murray as the only Blue Devil head coaches who have won as many as two bowl games at the Duke helm. Murray is in the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach.

Murray’s Blue Devils won the Orange Bowl after the 1945 season and the Cotton Bowl after the 1960 season.

For the record, College Football Hall of Fame Duke coach Wallace Wade, for whom Duke’s stadium is named, never won a bowl game while at the Blue Devil helm. Duke lost in Wade’s only two Blue Devil bowl appearances — the 1939 and 1942 Rose Bowls after the 1938 and 1941 regular seasons.

Wade won three national titles at Alabama before coming to Duke, capping undefeated and untied seasons with Rose Bowl wins following the 1925 and 1930 regular seasons and finishing 9-0-1 after a Rose Bowl tie following the 1926 season.

Duke (7-6) now has finished with four winning seasons in the last five.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews