2:00 PM ET, September 20, 2003
Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Jason Wright ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Northwestern's defense rebounded from a dreadful performance last week as the Wildcats beat Duke 28-10 on Saturday.
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 the Wildcats.
Duke (2-2) hoped 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, earning their fifth straight win in the series.
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.
That begins a brutal stretch for the Blue Devils, who have home games against Wake Forest and North Carolina State, and games at Maryland and Tennessee in the coming weeks. All five teams have been ranked this season.
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.
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.