Duke found its return trip to the Orange Bowl a little sour in 1958.
First of all, 1957 marked the last year that the ACC would send its champion to the Orange Bowl, and Duke earned the trip as league leader N.C. State was on NCAA probation. The Blue Devils were paired against highly-favored and fourth-ranked Oklahoma.
Duke, which started out the 1957 campaign with a 5-0 record but went 1-2-2 to close the regular season, kept pace with the 9-1 Sooners through the first three quarters.
No one, however, could have expected the game to be decided the way it was — by the Sooners turning six Duke mistakes into touchdowns.
Duke served up the Sooners’ first two scores as Oklahoma built an early 14-0 lead. Blue Devil mistakes also accounted for the Sooners’ final four as Oklahoma scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to break open a 21-14 nail biter. The six strikes came on quick conversions of two fumbles, two interceptions, a blocked punt and a wild snap from center.
Oklahoma’s first conversion came after Duke moved deep into Sooner territory. Quarterback George Harris tossed a wild pass into the right flat which David Baker picked off at the six-yard line and ran it back 94 yards for paydirt.
Soon after, Oklahoma was back in the scoring column after a bad snap in punt formation which Clendon Thomas took at the Duke 13-yard line and returned for a 14-0 lead.
To Duke’s credit, the Blue Devils responded with fury and took the ball 65 yards in seven plays for a score to make it 14-7 at the half. Key plays in the drive included Wray Carlton’s 20-yard run and a twisting 17-yard run by George Dutrow that put the ball on the three. Team captain Hal McElhaney scored the first two times he touched the ball in this game.
Both teams scored in the third quarter with Oklahoma first on a six-inch sneak by Carl Dodd. He set up the score with 36-yard punt return to the Duke 14.
Duke came right back and pushed its way with authority through the Oklahoma defense for 85 yards on 11 plays. Pryor Millner’s passing and Dutrow’s running ate up the yardage. Then Dutrow circled around the end eight yards for the score behind a jarring block by Roy Hord. After that, very little went right for Duke as mistakes spelled doom in the fourth quarter.
Carlton and Dutrow led the way for the Blue Devils with 84 and 69 yards, respectively.
Overall, Duke outrushed the Sooners 231-165 and ran more plays, 69-44, but the final score was all Oklahoma.