It was never easy for Thomas Sirk, who for long stretches looked completely incapable of completing a pass longer than 3 yards. He threw two ill-advised interceptions and completely missed a couple other relatively simple TD throws. David Cutcliffe said in the postgame there was consideration given to replacing Sirk with Parker Boehme. It never happened. What Sirk did do was chew up ground with his legs, leading the Devils with 155 rushing yards and two TDs. He was one of three Devils to rush for over 100 yards on the day. Sirk told me afterwards that the struggles are 'just football' and that he never lost confidence. It showed when it mattered.
Down 7, It was Sirk's arm that came through in the clutch. He zipped passes to Max McCaffery, including one on a must have 4th and 2. His dart to TJ Rahming took Duke down to the Indiana 5 and Sirk plunged in from there, helping to force overtime.
Cut spoke after the game of 'milestones' surpassing 'goals'. Fighting back tears, he thanked the senior class for 'raising the bar'. Big things, Cut said, are now expected of Duke football.
One of those seniors, All-ACC center Matt Skura told me that winning this bowl game felt even a little bigger than winning the Coastal Division title a couple years back. Removing a 54 year old collar will do that for you. The end of the game was an explosion of emotion. There were many happy tears, and a promise to keep building what has become a program that matters.
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