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Devils Get Clawed By Wildcats 24-13

A second straight loss by the young Devils

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Duke v Northwestern
EVANSTON, IL- SEPTEMBER 17: T.J. Rahming #3 of the Duke Blue Devils tries to make a catch on his helmet against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half on September 17, 2016 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Duke struggled offensively and fell at Northwestern 24-13 Saturday night.

In some ways, Duke played well - Northwestern only outgained Duke by 10 yards - but showed that it was a young team and made plenty of mistakes.

Northwestern scored on its first drive and it looked as if the Wildcats could do as they pleased.

Duke allowed a touchdown on a 44-yard pass from a team with a weak passing game to date (despite the bad rap, Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson finished with 320 passing yards).

Worse, from David Cutcliffe’s point of view, Northwestern got the ball on that play after Duke screwed up a punt.

One of the real strengths that Cutcliffe has shown at Duke is special teams play so he must not have enjoyed that at all.

Duke failed multiple times in scoring position, including two turnovers by freshman QB Daniel Jones (one turnover, one fumble).

Kicker AJ Reed also missed a field goal that he probably could have hit and probably will later in his career.

Duke gave up, potentially, 31 points it might have had.

Jones did have a couple of drives where he moved Duke cooly and efficiently downfield, but the Blue Devils weren’t able to capitalize.

Duke also tried a fake punt that had a chance of working, but Erich Schneider slipped and missed the pass.

On the bright side, the Blue Devils didn’t give up, scoring a late touchdown with under a minute left to make the score 24-13 but missed the two point conversion.

We’ve seen a mature and tough team the last few years but as of now it appears that we’ll have to wait for this team to grow up a bit. There are some encouraging signs, to be sure, but it’s not there yet.

Next up - Notre Dame at Notre Dame.