Game Notes: Northwestern – Duke University

DURHAM – Duke makes its first appearance in 2022 when it travels to Northwestern for a game with the Wildcats at Ryan Field

Kick-off is set for 12pm with the game being streamed live on Fox Sports 1.

The Blue Devils lead the all-time streak 11-10 and have back-to-back victories over the Wildcats before Saturday’s competition. The team’s last meeting a year ago, a powerful first half and strong defense put Duke past Northwestern 30-23 at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. quarterback Gunnar Holmbergwide receiver Jake Bobo and run back Mateo Durant led the offense, becoming the 17th trio in program history to have 300+ passing yards, 100+ receiving yards, and 100+ rushing yards in a single game.

In Duke’s last game against Temple, sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard finished 24 of 30 (.800) and crossed 328 yards with two touchdowns. A native of Fairhope, Ala., began his second career start with 15 consecutive passing completions. This sign brought him tied with Ben Bennett and Thaddeus Lewis for the third time in program history for consecutive completions in a game.

Saturday’s FS1 broadcast will feature Eric Collins and Devin Gardner on the conference call. The game can also be heard on LEARFIELD’s Blue Devil Sports Network via the Varsity app or


Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. Northwestern (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Saturday 10 September 2022 • 12 noon
Evanston, IL • Ryan Field


RADIO • LEARFIELD’s Blue Devils Sports Network

GAME NOTES • Duke Notes (PDF) • Northwestern Notes




Duke has three assistant coaches who previously served at Northwestern – offensive coordinator Kevin JohnsRunning Game Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Adam Cushing and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Patrick Dougherty. Johns served as an assistant running backs coach (2004-2005), wide receivers/recruiting coordinator (2006-2007), and wide receivers/passing game coordinator (2008-2010) from 2004-2010. Cushing was a staffer from 2004-18 and has 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 defensive quality control and linebackers coach for the Wildcats.

Since 1924, the Blue Devils have held an all-time record of 46-50-3 in their first real away game of the year. Duke is 6-4 over his last 10.

Saturday’s game marks 22nd on the gridiron between the two schools, with the series currently 11-10 in Duke’s favor. The Blue Devils are trying to overtake their Big Ten foe with four wins after winning in 2017, 2018 and most recently last season.

Duke is 1-0 in September under Elko and 10-5 for the last five years. On the road, the Blue Devils are 4-3 across that range.

Over the past 10 years, Duke holds a 26-7 (.788) regular season and an overall record of 29-10 (.744) against non-conference opponents. In his last 25 nonconference games, Duke is 18-7.

Second QB Riley Leonard slowly carving his name in Duke’s record book. During the Blue Devils’ final game against Temple, Leonard started the contest with a 15-of-15 pass for 239 yards with two points. The 15 consecutive degrees tied him with Ben Bennett and Thaddeus Lewis for third place in school history for most consecutive graduations in a single game. Leonard finished the contest with 24 of 30 for a career-high 328 yards. With a score of 193.8, he currently ranks 16th in the nation in passing efficiency.

This wasn’t the first time Leonard converted all of his passing attempts to start a game. During his rookie season, the Fairhope, Alabama, native completed 13 of 13 passes for 99 yards against Louisville. He hit 10 passes in the third quarter and ranked fifth on the Freshmen charts for most pass completions in a quarter.

Red Shirt Junior RB Jaylen Coleman and redshirt newcomer WR Sahmir Hagans earned her first career touchdowns in Duke’s season opener against Temple. Second QB Jordan Moore counted his first career scoring a result to also help Blue Devils wins. Moore now has four total touchdowns after three rushing scores a season ago.

Duke had a total of 500 yards of offense in the opener against Temple. This was the second straight season opener in which the Blue Devils registered more than 500 yards of offense. Over the past five years, the Duke offensive line has totaled 500+ yards on 10 separate occasions, including five times for 600+ yards (607 v. Kansas, 2021; 645 at Syracuse, 2020; 629 v. North Carolina, 2018; 619 ). in Pittsburgh, 2018 and 629 vs. NC Central, 2018).

The Blue Devils were strong on defense against Temple, keeping the Owls to less than 200 yards total offense, including just 50 yards in the first half alone. The shutout was Duke’s first since 2015 when he beat NC Central 55-0 at home. The last time the Blue Devils kept an FBS opponent scoreless was in 1989 away against North Carolina (W, 41-0) and in 1978 against Wake Forest (W, 3-0) at home.

After allowing just 179 yards in total offense, just 3.09 yards per game and no points during his opening game, Duke is 14th nationally in total defense…it’s also in the top-25 in numerous other defensive categories.

Category Ranking Value

Goal defense T1st 0.0
4. Down Conversion Pct Defense T1st 0.0
Red Zone Defense T1st 0.0
Sales margin 3. 3.00
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 19. 81.30
First defense down T19th 12
Passing yards allowed 21. 114.0
Rushing Defense 24. 65.0

Red Shirt Senior LB Shaka Heyward was named a 2022 preseason All-ACC selection by Phil Steele (2nd team) and Athlon Sports (3rd team). He was also placed on Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List and was nominated as a Lott IMPACT Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award nominee. In 40 career games (30 starts), Heyward 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 score more than 300 tackles in his career. Heyward is also shy of two career sacks and three tackles for loss to break 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 28 games with more than five tackles. He has 4+ tackles in 29 consecutive competitions and is one of two returning starters with over 2,400 career snaps (Jacob Monk: 2,474).

Duke is fourth in the county in net punting after recording 98 punting yards on two punts against Temple versus minus one punt return yards for the Owls in his second opener against Temple.

Red Shirt Junior Charlie Ham is back as Duke’s primary kicker. Last year he had a team-high 74 points with 14 of 20 (.700) field goals and 32 of 32 (1,000) PATs. He also had 55 kickoffs for 3,211 yards (58.38) with 22 touchbacks against two out-of-bounds boots. During his tenure at Blue Devil, Ham has averaged 155 points on 30 of 41 (.732) FGs and 65 of 67 (.970) PATs. Additionally, he has started 89 times for 5,332 yards (59.91) with 33 touchbacks against three boots out of bounds.

In Duke’s season opener, Ham had 12 points with three FGs of 29, 37, and 38 yards. Those points made him the 17th player in Duke history to have more than 150 career points and currently sits in 15th place, a point behind Shaun 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 also has 49 consecutive PATs converted. The 49 consecutive PATs place him tied Scott McKinney for the seventh all-time in program history.