Alabama took the opening kickoff and marched 61 yards on seven plays for a 37-yard field goal by kicker Jamie Christensen with 10:39 left in the opening quarter. On third down and goal, Duke's Codey Lowe sacked Crimson Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson to force the field goal attempt.
On its second offensive possession, Duke drove deep into Alabama territory, but the Blue Devils lost a fumble on second down and goal from the Crimson Tide two yard line. The drive was keyed by Leon Wright's 22-yard punt return as well as a 21-yard scamper by Re'quan Boyette.
Duke then held Alabama and took over at the Crimson Tide 39 yard line following a punt. Three plays netted nine yards, and, after two Duke timeouts, Ronnie Drummer rushed for four yards on fourth down and two from the 30 yard line. The fourth down conversion paid dividends for the Blue Devils as Thaddeus Lewis later found Eron Riley for a nine-yard touchdown pass and Joe Surgan's PAT gave Duke a 7-3 with 12:21 remaining in the second quarter.
The Crimson Tide responded by driving 90 yards on 11 plays and Wilson hooked up with D.J. Hall on a four-yard touchdown pass to make the score 10-7 with 5:33 left before halftime. Duke countered by taking the ensuing kickoff and marching 74 yards on six plays and Lewis silenced the crowd by scoring on the ground from five yards out. The drive was highlighted by a 33-yard run from scrimmage by Boyette and a 35-yard pass from Lewis to Riley.
Taking advantage of a turnover, Alabama went 40 yards on nine plays to take a 16-14 lead when Wilson found Keith Brown on a nine-yard scoring strike at the 9:23 mark of the third quarter. Duke's Casey Camero blocked the PAT attempt to keep the advantage at two points.
Alabama pushed its lead to 23-14 at the 4:08 mark of the final period when Jimmy Johns scored from two yards out, and Lionel Mitchell accounted for the final margin less than one minute later with a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Duke begins a four-game homestand next Saturday by hosting Florida State at 1 p.m. After entertaining the Seminoles, the Blue Devils will take on Miami (Oct. 21), Vanderbilt (Oct. 28) and Navy (Nov. 4) in succession at Wallace Wade Stadium.