DURHAM- Duke heads on the road for the first time in 2022 when it travels to Northwestern for a game with the Wildcats at Ryan Field
Kickoff is set for 12 noon, and the game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.
The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 11-10, and have strung together three consecutive victories over the Wildcats heading into Saturday’s contest. During the team’s last meeting a year ago, a high-powered first half and strong defense lifted Duke past Northwestern, 30-23 at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Quarterback Gunnar Holmbergwide receiver Jake Bobo and running back Mataeo Durant led the offense, becoming the 17th trio in program history to record 300-plus passing yards, 100-plus receiving yards and 100-plus rushing yards, respectively, in a single game.
In Duke’s last outing against Temple, sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard finished 24-of-30 (.800) passing for 328 yards with two touchdowns. The Fairhope, Ala., native began his second career start with 15 consecutive pass completions. That mark placed him tied with Ben Bennett and Thaddeus Lewis for third all-time in program history for consecutive completions in a game.
Saturday’s FS1 broadcast will feature Eric Collins and Devin Gardner on the call. The game can also be heard on the Blue Devil Sports Network from LEARFIELD through the Varsity app or goduke.com.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. Northwestern (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, September 10, 2022 • 12 Noon
Evanston, Ill. •Ryan Field
TV • FS1
RADIO • Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD
GAME NOTES • Duke Notes (PDF) • Northwestern Notes
LIVE STATS • NUSports.com
TWITTER • @DukeFOOTBALL
Duke has three assistant coaches who have previously served on staff at Northwestern — offensive coordinator kevin johnsrun game coordinator and offensive line coach Adam Cushing and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Patrick Dougherty. Johns was on staff from 2004-10 as an assistant coach for running backs (2004-05), wide receivers/recruiting coordinator (2006-07) and wide receivers/passing game coordinator (2008-10). Cushing served on staff from 2004-18 and held the following coaching positions: graduate assistant/offensive line (2004), tight ends/H-backs (2005-07), superbacks/recruiting coordinator (2008), offensive line/recruiting coordinator ( 2009-11), and offensive line (2012-18). Dougherty spent the 2013 season as the Wildcats’ defensive quality control and linebackers coach.
Since 1924, the Blue Devils hold an all-time record of 46-50-3 in their first true road game of the year. Duke is 6-4 over its last 10.
Saturday’s game will mark the 22nd on the gridiron between the two schools with the series currently in Duke’s favor at 11-10. The Blue Devils are trying to make it four straight over their Big Ten foe, having won in 2017, 2018, and most recently last season.
DUKE IN SEPTEMBER
Duke is 1-0 in the month of September under Elko and 10-5 over the last five years. On the road, the Blue Devils are 4-3 over that span.
Over the last 10 years, Duke holds a 26-7 (.788) regular season and 29-10 (.744) overall record against non-conference opponents. In its last 25 non-conference games, Duke is 18-7.
Sophomore QB Riley Leonard is slowly etching his name into Duke’s record book. During the Blue Devils’ last outing against Temple, Leonard started the contest 15-of-15 passing for 239 yards with two scores. The 15 consecutive completions tied him with Ben Bennett and Thaddeus Lewis for third in school history for most consecutive completions in a single game. Leonard finished the contest 24-of-30 for a career high 328 yards passing. He currently sits 16th in the nation in passing efficiency with a mark of 193.8.
That was not the first time Leonard converted on all his pass attempts to start a game. During his rookie season, the Fairhope, Ala., native completed 13-of-13 passes for 99 yards versus Louisville. He hit on 10 passes in the third quarter to tie for fifth on the freshmen charts for most pass completions in a quarter.
Redshirt junior RB Jaylene Coleman and redshirt freshman WR Sahmir Hagans earned their first career touchdowns in Duke’s season opener against Temple. Sophomore QB Jordan Moore carved his first career receiving score to help the Blue Devils’ winning effort as well. Moore now has four total touchdowns following three rushing scores a season ago.
Duke totaled 500 yards of offense during its opener against Temple. This marked the second consecutive season opener in which the Blue Devils registered 500+ yards of offense. Over the last five years, the Duke offense has recorded 500+ total yards on 10 different occasions, including five times with 600+ yards (607 vs. Kansas, 2021; 645 at Syracuse, 2020; 629 vs. North Carolina, 2018; 619 at Pittsburgh, 2018; and 629 vs. NC Central, 2018).
The Blue Devils were stout on defense against Temple, holding the Owls to under 200 yards of total offense, including just 50 yards in the first half alone. The shutout marked Duke’s first since 2015 when it blanked NC Central 55-0 at home. The last time the Blue Devils held an FBS opponent scoreless was in 1989 against North Carolina (W, 41-0) on the road and in 1978 against Wake Forest (W, 3-0) at home.
After only allowing 179 yards of total offense, just 3.09 yards per play, and no points during its opener, Duke is 14th in the country in total defense… it’s also in the top-25 in numerous other defensive categories.
Category Ranking Value
Scoring Defense T1st 0.0
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense T1st 0.0
Red Zone Defense T1st 0.0
Turnover Margin 3rd 3.00
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 19th 81.30
First Down Defense T19th 12
Passing Yards Allowed 21st 114.0
Rushing Defense 24th 65.0
Redshirt senior LB Shaka Heyward has been named a 2022 preseason All-ACC selection by Phil Steele (2nd team) and Athlon Sports (3rd team). He has also been tabbed to the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List and named a candidate for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award. In 40 career games (30 starts), Heyward has compiled 251 tackles, 27.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, two pass breakups, and 11 quarterback pressures. He is 49 tackles away from becoming the 21st player in program history to achieve 300-plus tackles in their career. Heyward is also two career sacks and three tackles for loss shy of breaking into the top-15 in Duke lore.
In 2,574 career snaps, he has eight double-digit tackle games, including a career-high 16 stops against North Carolina A&T in 2021, and has 28 games with five-plus tackles. He has carved four-plus tackles in 29 straight contests and is one of two returning starters with 2,400+ career snaps (Jacob Monks: 2,474).
Duke is fourth in the county in net punting after recording 98 punting yards on two punts in its second opener versus Temple against minus-one punt return yards for the Owls.
KICKING WITH HAM
Redshirt junior Charlie Ham is back as Duke’s primary kicker. Last year, I have recorded a team-high 74 points on 14-of-20 (.700) field goals and 32-of-32 (1.000) PATs. He also tallied 55 kickoffs for 3,211 yards (58.38) with 22 touchbacks against two boots out of bounds. During his Blue Devil tenure, Ham has totaled 155 points on 30-of-41 (.732) FGs and 65-of-67 (.970) PATs. In addition, he has kicked off 89 times for 5,332 yards (59.91) with 33 touchbacks against three boots out of bounds.
In Duke’s season opener, Ham connected on three FGs of 29-, 37-, and 38-yards for 12 points. Following those points, he became the 17th player in Duke history to amass 150+ career points and currently sits 15th, one point behind Shawn Wilson (2014-17) and Chris Douglas (2000-03). Ham is also 10th on Duke’s career charts for most field goals (30), 11th in PATs (65) and has also converted 49 consecutive PATs. The 49 consecutive PATs place him tied with Scott McKinney for seventh all-time in program lore.