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Five Things We Learned About Duke After The Season

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Duke receiver Jamison Crowder, a first-team All-ACC selection, was one of the few certifiable stars on the 10-win team coached by David Cutcliffe. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images.
Duke receiver Jamison Crowder, a first-team All-ACC selection, was one of the few certifiable stars on the 10-win team coached by David Cutcliffe. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images.

The Blue Devils surprised a vast majority of the college football world this past season.

Duke had one of the greatest seasons in the program's history.

With that in mind, here are the five things we saw and learned about the Blue Devils this season:

1.Double-Digit Wins: Want to know how special the team’s 10-win season was? It is the first time ever that the Blue Devils football program has won 10 games in a single season. The only times they’ve been even close to winning 10 games was back in 1933, 1936 and 1941 back when the program was part of the Southern Conference. (They won nine games in all three seasons.)

2.Back-To-Back Bowl Appearances: Before the 2012 season, Duke never has made back-to-back bowl appearances. But in 2012 and 2013, they did just that. The team made back-to-back trips to bowls, but lost both games. Their appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Texas A&M in 2013 was only the 10th bowl appearance in the program's history.

3.Ranked In The Top 25: When Duke cracked the Top 25 and BCS standings in Week 14 of the college football season, it was unfamiliar territory for the program. 2013 was the only time the team placed in the BCS standings and only the fourth time since 1962 they reached the polls. Needless to say, they kept their rank for the rest of the season, entering the bowl game at No. 24 in the nation and exiting at No. 22 despite the loss.

4.Stifling Their Opponents: Duke proved the 2012 season wasn’t a fluke when they continually became a problem for their opponents on the schedule. They successfully defeated Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) when both teams were ranked. The only games they struggled in were against Georgia Tech and Florida State in the ACC championship game. The Blue Devils gave quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies a challenge in the 52-48 shootout loss at the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Duke was most definitely a thorn in the college football’s side, especially in their dramatic 27-25 win over North Carolina for the Victory Bell.

5.Awards And Honors: Duke received some well-deserved recognition and honors. Coach David Cutcliffe won ACC football coach of the year for the second straight season. Before Cutcliffe, the last time a head coach at Duke won the award was former coach Fred Goldsmith in 1994. Legendary Blue Devils coach William D. Murray won coach of the year three times. Junior wide receiver Jamison Crowder and junior guard Laken Tomlinson both made first team All-ACC.