Duke ripped through Northern Illinois 36-14 in a breeze of a Quick Lane Bowl. Here are five things that matter.
2017 Quick Lane Bowl: Duke 36, Northern Illinois 14
5. There’s the Daniel Jones Duke needed
When Daniel Jones was good this season, Duke was fantastic. When he was mediocre, Duke struggled.
Daniel Jones was terrific.
The Blue Devil quarterback completed 27-of-40 passes for 252 yards and two scores, and he ran 16 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. He kept the chains moving converting 10-of-19 third down plays, and 2-of-3 fourth down tries. The Duke O never gave NIU a chance.
4. The Northern Illinois offense couldn’t roll
Give Duke’s defense credit for coming up with a brilliant game, but with some of the key parts injured and missing, NIU couldn’t get anything going outside of the two big second quarter plays.
NIU converted just 1-of-12 third down chances and misses on all six fourth down tries. The Huskie O line couldn’t generate any sort of a push finishing with a mere 65 rushing yards averaging 2.2 yards per carry.
3. NIU made it interesting, but …
Duke took over early in the second quarter, and that was it.
NIU tied it with a 25-yard Tre Harbison touchdown run – the only bright spot for the ground game – and made it interesting with a 67-yard Jauan Wesley touchdown catch, but that’s when Jones and the offense took over, and 22 unanswered points later, that was it.
Duke played like the ACC team that had a few nice moments this year against other Power Five program, and …
2. Northern Illinois + Bowls = Trouble
0-5 since beating Arkansas State in the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl. That’s what Northern Illinois has done, and it hasn’t been pretty.
The Huskies lost to Florida State in the 2013 Orange, Utah State in the 2013 Poinsettia, Marshall in the 2014 Boca Raton, Boise State in the 2015, and now Duke in the Quick Lane by a combined score of 195 to 68, or an average of 39 to 13.6.
NIU just doesn’t do bowls well.
1. David Cutcliffe keeps on rolling
The guy keeps on working miracles with the Blue Devil program.
The 63-year-old head man has now taken Duke to five bowl games in six seasons and four winning seasons in the last five. Considering the Blue Devils don’t get anywhere near the talents of a Florida State, Clemson or Louisville, that’s amazing.
It might have been the Quick Lane Bowl and not the Orange, but Cutcliffe has now won his last two bowl games, there’s no plan for him to leave and go anywhere else, and the team should be even stronger next season.
There’s a big difference between 6-7 and 7-6. Cutcliffe keeps on doing wonders.