Duke Falls to Northwestern

 

 

DURHAM, N.C. (GoDuke.com) -- Northwestern outscored Duke 16-3 in the second half to hand the Blue Devils their first football loss of the season, 19-10. The No. 23 Wildcats outgained the Blue Devils 214-152 in the second half after being held to just 57 yards in the first two quarters.

Duke (2-1) quarterback Thomas Sirk finished 24-of-39 for 150 yards and added 61 yards on the ground. Deondre Singleton and Dwayne Norman led the defense with 12 tackles apiece. Singleton and Jeremy Cash both registered seven solo stops.

The first half was all about the two defenses with turnovers leading to all 10 points. Northwestern (3-0) managed just 19 yards rushing in the opening two quarters, including just four first downs. Overall the two teams combined for 232 yards of offense and 12 first downs in the opening 30 minutes.

Duke, holding its opponents to just 10.71 percent on third downs this season, continued the trend as the Wildcats were just 1-of-10 on third downs in the opening half.

After Duke’s opening drive stalled just over midfield, a DeVon Edwards interception on Northwestern’s first offensive possession led to a Blue Devil touchdown. Five plays and 26 yards later, Sirk scampered five yards up the middle for the touchdown and 7-0 Duke lead.

The Blue Devil defense was outstanding in the first quarter, holding Northwestern to just 30 yards of total offense, three first downs and forcing the turnover that led to the lone touchdown of the period.

Northwestern got on the board midway through the second quarter, capitalizing on a Duke fumble on its own 35 yard line. The Wildcats made their way inside the red zone where Duke held them to force a field goal and make it 7-3 at halftime.

The Wildcats opened the second half with a bang as Solomon Vault ran the kickoff back 98 yards for a score. A blocked extra point by defensive end Kyler Brown left the score at 9-7. Northwestern, after a three-and-out by Duke, marched 53 yards down the field before settling for a field goal to go up five, 12-7.

Duke’s offense stalled in the third quarter against the talented defensive front of the Wildcats. The Blue Devils, on the back of a 30-yard run from Shaquille Powell, added its first points since the first quarter with a 38-yard field goal by Ross Martin to cut the Northwestern lead to two, 12-10.

Less than two minutes later Northwestern extended its lead to nine thanks to a 55-yard run by Warren Long into the end zone. The extra point went through, giving the Wildcats the 19-10 advantage.

Northwestern went 5-of-10 on third down in the final half, while Duke was successful on just 1-of-8 third-down chances. The Wildcats finished with 201 yards rushing after amassing just 19 in the first half.