After sharing the ACC title and making its first bowl appearance in over 25 years, Duke had its sights set on the first nine-win season since the Rose Bowl team of 1941.
The Blue Devils came into the game winners of seven straight after a 1-3 start. The record-setting squad was led by ACC Coach of the Year Steve Spurrier and his “Airball” attack featuring All-America wide receiver Clarkston Hines.
Texas Tech running back James Gray quickly dashed those thoughts, though, as the Red Raiders scored the first four touchdowns of the contest to take an early 28-0 lead and set the tone for an eventual 49-21 Duke loss.
The first 20 minutes were dominated by Texas Tech, which finished with 339 first-half yards, and Gray, who set an All American Bowl record with three touchdowns in one half. Duke turned the ball over three times and fell behind 28-0 before a quick rally made it 28-14 at the half.
Sophomore quarterback Dave Brown came in to lead Duke on two quick scoring strikes. The first drive took but 25 seconds and two plays with Bud Zuberer hauling in a 30-yard pass down the right sideline with 8:03 left in the half. The second took 50 seconds and four plays, with Dave Colonna catching a 25-yard scoring pass over the middle with 2:31 to go in the half.
Brown finished the night completing 17-of-30 pass attempts for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
Duke had 416 total yards on 59 plays from scrimmage while Texas Tech ran 82 plays for 523 yards.
Duke had one last first-half possession, starting at its 39 with 31 seconds remaining. The Blue Devils tried their “huddle play” — four players gathering around the ball in the backfield but Brown was dropped for a seven-yard loss.
Texas Tech quickly regained the second half momentum. The Red Raiders stayed on the ground for 11 plays and 62 yards and capped the 6:12 drive with a one-yard run by reserve Anthony Lynn.
The Red Raiders upped the lead to 42-14 entering the fourth quarter.
Hines finished his Duke career with another stellar performance, catching six passes for 112 yards while Duke’s 1,000-yard rusher, Randy Cuthbert, could manage just 32 yards on five attempts. A two-time All-America pick and the 1989 ACC Player of the Year, Hines ended his career as Duke’s all-time leader in career catches, yards, touchdowns and 100-yard receiving games.
The game also was Spurrier’s last as the coach of the Blue Devils. He took over the Florida program, his alma mater, following the season. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year pick finished his Duke head coaching career with a 20-13-1 record.