In its first road game of the season, Duke captured an easy 21-7 victory behind another efficient day by Daniel Jones and a stout defensive performance. The Blue Zone hands out grades to every Duke unit:

Offense: B+

Pass: Redshirt junior Daniel Jones picked up where he left off last week with another solid game, with three second quarter touchdowns, including a 52-yard bomb to Johnathan Lloyd. Unfortunately, a hard sack by Joe Gaziano resulted in a broken left clavicle for Jones, who was replaced by Quentin Harris in the fourth.

Rush: Sophomore backs Brittain Brown and Deon Jackson again split the load for the rushing offense but struggled to find much room, totaling 86 yards on 31 carries for a combined average of just 2.8 yards per attempt. The longest run of the day was actually tallied by Harris, who scrambled for 25 yards on a third-and-long.

X’s and O’s: The Blue Devils were outgained in both yards (301 to 381) and first downs (15 to 24), but their ability to find the end zone proved to be the difference. 

Defense: A-

Pass: Northwestern’s quarterback duo of Clayton Thorson and TJ Green put up a respectable 282 yards through the air. However, an interception off of each quarterback by sophomores Michael Carter II and Marquis Waters on back-to-back drives were huge momentum-shifters that helped the Blue Devils build their lead. Nevertheless, the passing defense will need some work to be ready for the Pro Football Focus Quarterback of the Week, Baylor’s Charlie Brewer.

Rush: The Blue Devils’ front seven once again had a strong showing, especially in the second half in which they held the Wildcats to only 23 rushing yards, including just one rushing yard in the fourth. Aside from a 40-yard burst from Northwestern’s Jeremy Larkin that led to a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, Duke frustrated a Northwestern rushing attack that tallied just 99 yards, a far cry from their average of 171 yards last season. 

X’s and O’s: Despite giving up a significant chunk of yards, Duke stood strong in key situations, holding the Wildcats to just 1-for-5 on 4th down, including a sack by Drew Jordan that stopped a scoring threat inside Duke’s 10-yard line.

Special Teams: A-

In a game with no field goals or punt returns for Duke, the special teams had a sound, albeit unremarkable, showing. Redshirt senior Collin Wareham converted all three of his extra point attempts, keeping him perfect on the season. Junior punter Austin Parker averaged a solid 42.4 yards per punt, including a booming 56 kick in the fourth quarter. 

The only blemish came on the opening play of the fourth, as Carter II got a bit over-eager when covering a punt, resulting in a kick-catch interference penalty.