After finishing the regular season strong with two road wins and a 6-6 record, the Hoosiers earned themselves a bowl game in New York.
Indiana will face Duke in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 26, which will be played at Yankee Stadium. The program confirmed its acceptance of the invitation from the bowl's organizers Sunday afternoon. ABC will broadcast the game at 3:30 p.m. that day.
“All of us at Indiana University are delighted that our football team has earned a well deserved bowl berth, which reflects the strong performance and hard work of our players and coaching staff, the dedication and support of our fans, and the very encouraging progress our program has made this season,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a statement released by the program. “We’re excited to be playing in New York City and at hallowed Yankee Stadium, which will certainly make for a most memorable holiday season experience for our many Hoosier alumni and friends residing in the region. And we’re particularly pleased to be competing against a fellow member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), which has as members the nation’s 60 leading research universities.”
Indiana finished 6-6 and 2-6 in BIg Ten play. After a 4-0 start to the season, Indiana lost its first six conferences games.
Four of those six conference losses were by eight points or less, including a eight-point loss to Iowa, a seven-point point loss to Ohio State, and a seven-point, double-overtime loss to Michigan. Those three opponents, in addition to Michigan State - which the Hoosiers also faced - all finished in the Top 15 of the College Football Playoff Selection Committe's final rankings.
Still, critical road wins over Maryland and Purdue paved the way for the program's first winning season since 2007, when it finished 7-5 and earned an invitation to the Insight Bowl against Oklahoma State in Tempe, Az.
The weather will be much colder for the Hoosiers' bowl game this time around with the Hoosiers playing in the Bronx. However, New York is home to one of IU's largest alumni bases, which likely was a major point in the program's pitch to Pinstripe Bowl organizers.
“I’m happy and pleased for our players and excited for the opportunity to continue to improve our program” Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said in the same release. “We are looking forward to playing an outstanding opponent in Duke. It will be a great trip for our kids and nice to play in front of our large alumni base in the New York City area.”
Duke concluded the regular season with a 7-5 record, going 4-4 in ACC play. Initially starting the season 6-1, the Blue Devils lost next four games beforing defeating Wake Forest 27-21 in their regular-season finale.
The .500 conference record earned Duke a fourth-place finish in the ACC. Duke had the fifth-best scoring offense in the conference at 30.5 points per game, which also ranked 55th nationally among 127 FBS teams.
Defensively, the Blue Devils gave up 372 yards per game, fifth-most in the ACC and 47th nationally. Indiana's offense averaged a Big Ten-best 36.2 points per game, which was also good for 23rd in the country.
The bowl game marks the first meeting between the two programs since 1984, when the Blue Devils defeated the Hoosiers 31-24 in Durham, N.C. However, the Hoosiers lead the all time series 2-1.
“Our team has earned this great opportunity to play in the Pinstripe Bowl,” Indiana Director of Athletics Fred Glass said in the same statement. “This will showcase our team in one of the world’s truly iconic sporting venues against a high quality opponent in the Duke Blue Devils. We are excited to bring Hoosier Nation to the Big Apple for the holidays as ‘Candy Stripes go Pinstripes’ on December 26th. Coach Wilson and I just told the team and they are very excited.”