Sept 20, 2003
Duke-Northwestern Game Notes
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DURHAM, N.C. -- Jason Wright ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and
Northwestern's defense rebounded from a sub-par performance last week as the
Wildcats beat Duke 28-10 on Saturday.
Noah Herron ran for 100 yards and a 69-yard touchdown for Northwestern
(2-2), while Brett Basanez added a rushing score.
One week after allowing 44 points and 515 yards in a loss to Miami (Ohio),
Northwestern held Duke to 151 yards through three quarters and made the Blue
Devils work for everything.
Duke's only two scoring drives were aided by personal-foul penalties against
Duke (2-2) was seeking to win three straight games for the first time since 1994,
but the Blue Devils got behind early and never led. Chris Douglas, who came in
leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing at 102 yards per game,
finished with 42.
The Wildcats broke the game open with second-half touchdown runs from Wright
and Herron. NU earned its fifth straight win in the series and evened the series at 7-7. The 'Cats have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Blue Devils.
Northwestern led 14-7 at halftime, but the Blue Devils closed the gap to
four on Brent Garber's 26-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.
That score was aided by a late hit penalty after the Blue Devils came up short
on a third down.
The Wildcats answered on their next drive, moving 80 yards on 11 plays to
take a 21-10 lead on Wright's 8-yard run with 1:28 left in the quarter.
Early in the fourth, Duke drove to the Northwestern 14, but came up empty
when John Pickens recovered a fumble by Mike Schneider, who was hit while
trying to throw. Two plays later, Herron broke through the left side and cut to
the middle of the field for his 69-yard sprint that put the game out of reach.
Things get tougher for both teams next week. Northwestern opens Big Ten play
at Ohio State, while Duke hosts Florida State.
Northwestern got off to a fast start, rolling up 188 yards and scoring
touchdowns on its first two drives for a 14-0 lead after the opening period. Those were the first first-quarter points for the Wildcats this year.
Wright's stutter-step, cutback run of 38 yards gave Northwestern a 7-0 lead
with 10:18 in the quarter. On its next drive, Northwestern moved 51 yards on
eight plays, taking a 14-0 lead on Basanez's 1-yard keeper at the 4:29 mark.
It marked the second straight week the Blue Devils' defense struggled early.
Duke allowed 201 first-quarter yards against Rice last week.
But, as with the Rice win, Duke's defense tightened up, allowing 11 yards in
the second quarter.
That allowed the Blue Devils to get back into it with a touchdown drive -
aided by two Northwestern personal foul penalties - late in the half.
Schneider's 28-yard toss to Ronnie Elliott cut the deficit to seven with 1:43
left before the break.
Northwestern rolled up 286 yards on the ground, including a combined 289 by its three running backs -- Wright, Herron and Terrell Jordan. The trio averaged 8.1 yards on their 36 carries.
The Wildcat defense held the Blue Devils to 90 rushing yards on 32 carries (2.8 ypc) and 298 yards overall. With the game's outcome already decided, Duke gained 60 yards on its final drive of the game.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)