The Blue Devils battled back from a disastrous first quarter to tie Wisconsin at 13-13 in the second half of the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl. But when push came to shove, it was the Badgers’ huge offensive line that did the pushing and shoving, paving the way for the 241 rushing yards by Terrell Fletcher and a 34-20 Wisconsin win.
Wisconsin opened the scoring just six minutes into the contest when Jeff Messenger returned a Spence Fischer interception 19 yards for a Badger touchdown. Fischer actually had three interceptions in the game’s first eight minutes after throwing just five interceptions in Duke’s last nine regular season games.
The Duke defense kept the game close with a fourth down stop while forcing Wisconsin to kick two long field goals in the first quarter.
Fischer rebounded in the second frame, directing the Blue Devils to two scoring drives, including a 13-play, 90-yard drive capped by a Robert Baldwin 7-yard run for paydirt. At the end of the half placekicker Tom Cochran was true on a 30-yard effort to make it just 13-10 heading into the locker room.
Duke responded in the second half with another Cochran field goal 6:30 into the third quarter to tie the score at 13 apiece.
After that, the Badgers’ offensive line took full force, marching 78 yards on 10 plays - all on the ground to take a 19-13 lead. Ray Farmer blocked the point after to leave the Blue Devils just six behind. Wisconsin scored the eventual winning score midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Darrell Bevell hooked up with Jason Burns for an 11-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion made it 27-13.
Even then, the Blue Devils were not through. Fischer rallied the Blue Devils to an 80-yard scoring march on 10 plays, topped by another Baldwin scoring run with just 4:10 to play.
Duke’s defense couldn’t hold in the end. On third and one at the Duke 49-yard line with just barely two minutes to play, Fletcher galloped 49 yards for paydirt and the clincher for the Badgers.
On the offensive side of the ball, Duke turned to its passing game and the arm of Fischer. Fischer completed 28-of-46 passes for 314 yards, connecting with tight end Bill Khayat 11 times for 109 of those yards. Wide receiver Jon Jensen had six catches for 97 additional yards.
However, the Blue Devils could not get a throw into the endzone, as Duke’s two touchdowns came from the rushing efforts of Baldwin, the 1994 ACC Player of the Year and third team All-America pick, who rushed for 70 yards on 21 carries on the day.
“Our players fought back from adversity and kept the outcome in doubt until the final two minutes,” said Duke’s Fred Goldsmith, the 1994 National Coach of the Year.