DURHAM, N.C. – On the strength of a 21-10 halftime lead, Duke dispatched Northwestern 41-17 Saturday at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more to guide the Blue Devils to their second straight victory to start the year. On the day, Jones completed 29 of 45 passes for 305 yards and found Chris Taylor and Davis Koppenhaver for touchdown receptions.
Duke outgained the Wildcats (1-1) in total yardage, 538-191, while the Blue Devil defense held the visitors to just 22 yards on the ground, with 21 of those coming on Northwestern’s final possession. Sophomore cornerback Mark Gilbert tallied the first two interceptions of his career and senior safety Alonzo Saxton II supplied seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Northwestern marched deep into Duke territory on its second drive of the game, but the Blue Devil defense held strong on 3rd and 9 to limit the Wildcats to a field goal. The Duke offense countered at the end of the opening quarter, punctuating an 80-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown scamper by Jones.
The Blue Devils made it 14-3 early in the second quarter when Taylor hauled in a 52-yard pass from Jones. A Saxton II fumble recovery then set up Jones’ second rushing touchdown of the afternoon.
It was the Wildcats’ turn to capitalize on a fumble recovery just before the half, bringing the score to 21-10 at the intermission.
Gilbert picked off a pass by Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson three minutes into the third quarter and Austin Parker booted home a 31-yard field goal attempt.
On Duke’s next possession, the squad moved the chains behind the efforts of redshirt freshman running back Brittain Brown and junior wide receiver T.J. Rahming, who would conclude the day with 127 receiving yards. Jones capped the drive with a one-yard pass to Koppenhaver, extending the Blue Devils’ lead to 31-10. Senior running back Shaun Wilson tacked on an eight-yard touchdown run at 10:07 in the fourth quarter and Gilbert’s second interception resulted in a 24-yard field goal by Parker with five minutes remaining.
Northwestern quarterback Marcus McShepard found Riley Lees for a 20-yard touchdown pass inside the final three minutes to account for the final score.
The Blue Devils return to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday, Sept. 16 to host Baylor. The 12:30 p.m. contest will be broadcast on RSN. Tickets are available at goduke.com/tickets or by calling (919) 681-BLUE.