ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Duke Blue Devils capped their turnaround season with one more feel-good victory.

Quarterback Riley Leonard, the game’s Most Valuable Player, completed 19 of 28 passes for 173 yards and rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns as the Blue Devils beat the UCF Knights, 30-13, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in the 2022 Military Bowl presented by Peraton, benefiting the USO, before 17,974 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” said Duke Coach Mike Elko, who in his first season leading the team was named the ACC Coach of the Year. “From where this team was and this program was walking off the field at the end of the 2021 season, to walking off the field today as the 2022 Military Bowl champions.”

It was the first time since 2014 that Duke (9-4) has won nine games in a season.

The victory capped a terrific week in the National Capital Region, with players from both teams taking in the sights, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a tour of the National Mall and monuments and a community service project that saw each team make 1,000 care packages as part of the USO Pack 4 Troops program.

Once gameday arrived, Duke quickly showed that it was ready, driving 87 yards on the opening possession, capped by Jordan Moore’s 14-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

UCF, which advanced to the American Athletic Conference championship game, quickly responded, tying the game 7-7 on Isaiah Bowser’s one-yard touchdown run.

But the rest of the game was dominated by Leonard and Duke. Todd Pelino made a 22-yard field goal, Leonard scored on a one-yard run and Pelino finished the first half with a career-long 48-yard field goal for a 20-7 halftime lead.

Pelino added a 38-yard field goal for the only scoring of the third quarter, before Bowser and Leonard traded short touchdown runs in the fourth.