EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Daniel Jones threw for three touchdowns before leaving the game with a collarbone injury, and Duke beat Northwestern 21-7 on Saturday.
Jones passed for three TDs in the second quarter, propelling the Blue Devils (2-0) to another victory over the Wildcats (1-1) after pounding them at home last year.
But he got driven to the turf on a sack by Joe Gaziano at the end of the third and was replaced by Quentin Harris early in the fourth.
Coach David Cutcliffe said Jones would be examined when the team returned home. But he was bracing for a lengthy absence, saying, “It doesn’t look great.”
Cutcliffe also expects star cornerback Mark Gilbert to be out “quite some time” after he was helped off the field with an injury to the left hip area in the second quarter.
Jones completed 16 of 22 passes for 192 yards in another big game against Northwestern. He accounted for 413 total yards and four touchdowns in last year’s 41-17 romp.
“He was playing lights out,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s prepared hard. And that preparation, you can visibly see it. Anybody can see it. A lot of confidence. He’s not through, so we’ll be cranking it up moving forward.”
Jonathan Lloyd had 94 yards receiving, including a 52-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Davis Koppenhaver had a one-handed TD grab late in the first half, and the Blue Devils won for the 21st time in 24 games against non-Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson was 22 of 38 for 198 yards and an interception in his second game back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He again shared time with TJ Green, who went 9 for 18 for 84 yards and an interception.
Thorson said he was feeling good after taking some hits to the lower body. But the medical staff is determining his playing time.
“I wish I had control over that,” Thorson said. “I’m just told whether or not (Thorson) is in or (Thorson) is out.”
Jeremy Larkin ran for 121 yards and a Northwestern touchdown after going for a career-high 143 in the opener against Purdue. Flynn Nagel had 12 catches for 133 yards — both personal bests. But the Wildcats lost for the first time since Penn State beat them last Oct. 7.
Jones threw for 159 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to help the Blue Devils grab a 21-7 lead.
Larkin broke off a 40-yard run to the 4 and carried it in from the 2 for Northwestern on the game’s first possession. But three TD passes by Jones in the second quarter gave Duke a 14-point lead.
He connected with T.J. Rahming on a 9-yarder just over a minute in and the Blue Devils scored on back-to-back possessions to go up 21-7.
Marquis Waters intercepted Thorson in double coverage, leading to the Wildcats’ Cameron Green getting ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit on him. Jones connected with Lloyd deep down the middle on the next play for a 52-yard touchdown to put Duke on top. An open Koppenhaver made it a 14-point game with 2:18 left in the half when he reached up with his right hand and hauled in a 9-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.
Northwestern had a first down at the Duke 9 early in the third. But the drive stalled, with Thorson getting sacked on fourth down at the 4.
Duke: The Blue Devils could be in trouble if they have to get by without Jones and Gilbert.
Northwestern: The Wildcats clearly need a healthier Thorson if they’re going to make a run in the Big Ten. Larkin, meanwhile, showed again he’s ready to become the workhorse running back with career rushing leader Justin Jackson in the NFL.
Duke: Visits Baylor on Sept. 15.
Northwestern: Hosts Akron on Sept. 15.
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