DURHAM — Daniel Jones accounted for 413 total yards and four touchdowns, and Duke cruised to a 41-17 victory over Northwestern on Saturday afternoon.
Jones shook off his first interception since the middle of last season to pass for 305 yards and two touchdowns and rush for a career-high 108 yards and two scores.
Jones’ streak of 202 consecutive passes without an interception, longest in the nation, ended in the first quarter with a pick by Montre Hartage. Jones responded with touchdowns on the Blue Devils’ next three possessions_a 52-yard pass to Chris Taylor and scoring runs of 11 and 4 yards_to get Duke out to a 21-10 halftime lead.
“It definitely irritated me,” Jones said of the interception. “That was a tough point in the game, but you’ve got to have a short memory with that and be able to get back to what you’re doing.”
Jones added a 1-yard touchdown pass to Davis Koppenhaver in the second half and Shaun Wilson had a late touchdown run to turn it into a rout.
T.J. Rahming made 12 catches for 127 yards and Mark Gilbert had two interceptions for the Blue Devils. Overall Duke outgained the Wildcats 538-191, including limiting them to 22 rushing yards.
Justin Jackson’s 5-yard touchdown run at the end of the first half was all Northwestern’s first-stringers could muster. Quarterback Clayton Thorson was 11 of 29 for 120 yards and two interceptions.
“We got outcoached, out-executed, outplayed,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said, “and that starts and ends with me.”
Northwestern: The Wildcats’ early-season play continues to be concerning. They trailed Nevada 17-7 at home and 20-17 midway through the fourth quarter before rallying to escape in their home opener, and were downright non-competitive against Duke. Northwestern accumulated more than 15 yards on only three of its 13 drives.
Duke: Jones continues to impress, as does the Blue Devil defense. A week after holding FCS North Carolina Central to seven points and 158 total yards, Duke was every bit as stout against a better opponent, limiting the Wildcats to just over 1 yard per carry and recording four sacks and three turnovers.
Northwestern: The Wildcats return home to face Bowling Green for their nonconference finale before opening Big Ten play at Wisconsin on Sept. 30.
Duke: The Blue Devils play host to Baylor in the first matchup between the schools since 1958.