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No. 21 Duke cruises past Northwestern, 38-14

Sep 16, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Northwestern Wildcats defensive back Garnett Hollis Jr. (2) tackles Duke Blue Devils running back Grissim Anderson (41) during the first half against Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Waters and Riley Leonard ran for two touchdowns apiece and No. 21 Duke was in control for most of the game in defeating visiting Northwestern 38-14 on Saturday at Durham, N.C.

Duke is 3-0 for the second year in a row.

Leonard also racked up 219 passing yards by completing 15 of 20 throws. He gained 97 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Waters had first-half touchdown runs of 24 and 2 yards. Leonard scored his touchdowns in the third quarter on runs of 3 and 2 yards.

Northwestern quarterback Ben Bryant was 17-for-34 for 123 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Backup quarterback Brendan Sullivan directed a fourth-quarter scoring drive that ended with his 10-yard run at the 1:27 mark.

The Wildcats (1-2) were otherwise mostly thwarted on offense.

Duke, which allowed a touchdown late in the first half, regained momentum on the first possession of the second half by driving 80 yards for a touchdown on Leonard’s 3-yard dive. Then came a 12-play, 94-yard march with Leonard running the last 2 yards for the score.

Duke scored on its first possession of the game, going 56 yards on six plays on a march ending on Waters’ 24-yard run.

The Blue Devils went up 14-0 with Waters going 2 yards on the second play of the second quarter. Todd Pelino’s 34-yard field goal stretched the lead to cap Duke’s next possession.

Northwestern bounced back by going 73 yards in 15 plays on Bryant’s 14-yard touchdown pass to a diving A.J. Henning with 34 seconds to play in the first half.

The Wildcats were wildly inconsistent on offense. They drove 63 yards on 13 plays on a drive that ended on downs at the Duke 10-yard line in the first minute of the fourth quarter. That left the score at 31-7 and pretty much dashed any hopes of a huge comeback.

Peyton Jones scored on a 15-yard run for Duke in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media