On December 26th, 2017, the fourth Annual Quick Lane Bowl was played between the Duke Blue Devils and Northern Illinois Huskies at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.
Heading into the game, Duke was coming off a roller coaster regular season which started off with four wins and then six straight losses. To finish the regular season, Duke won its final two games and became bowl eligible at 6-6. NIU entered the game with an 8-4 record and was having an impressive response to their 5-7 record the season before. For both teams this was a chance to end their season on a high note and build even more momentum going into the next season.
After each team was unable to move the ball much their first drive, Duke was the first team to get on the board with a 10 play, 58-yard drive capped off with a rushing touchdown by sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones on 4th and goal on the NIU 1-yard line. The touchdown gave Duke a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Down 7-0, NIU stalled out on their second drive, but remained aggressive as they attempted a fake punt on 4th and 18 on their own 11-yard line. The fake punt attempt ended in an incompletion and gave Duke the opportunity to double their lead quickly. Three plays later, Duke found the end zone again with another 1-yard rushing touchdown, this time by senior running back, Shaun Wilson. With that, Duke went into the second quarter with a 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, it was NIU's time to respond. After a 43-yard completing from freshman quarterback Marcus Childers to sophomore receiver Spencer Tears, running back Tre Harbison got the Huskies on the board with a 25-yard touchdown run to cut Duke's lead to 14-7. After forcing a Duke three and out on the following drive, NIU only needed another two plays to tie the game up. This time it was Childers connecting with junior receiver Juwan Wesley for a 67-yard touchdown.
With the game tied up, both team had chances to take the lead into halftime and take control of the game. After a couple of defensive stops on each side, Duke was the team to take the lead and they never looked back. With six minutes left in the half, Jones led the Blue Devils down the field and ended the drive with a 33-yard touchdown to junior receiver T.J. Rahming. After a missed extra point attempt, the Blue Devils had a 20-14 lead. With less than two minutes left in the half, Jones found the end zone again, this time to Wilson (his second touchdown of the game) and Duke went into the half with a 26-14 lead.
In the second half, Duke didn't look back. Halfway through the third, freshman running back Brittain Brown had his first rushing touchdown of the game to give Duke a 33-14 lead. The Blue Devils then added to their lead with a 33-yard field goal by kicker William Holmquist to make the score 36-14. Duke would then control the NIU offense for the rest of the game and became Champions of the Quick Lane Bowl with a 36-14 victory. With the win, Duke finished the season 7-6 and on a three-game winning streak. NIU ended the year with an 8-5 record.
MVP: Daniel Jones (252 yards passing, 86 yards rushing, two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown)
Kickoff: 5:15 PM
|Daniel Jones (DUKE)||27/40||252||2||0|
|Marcus Childers (NIU)||15/26||234||1||1|
|Daniel Jones (DUKE)||16||86||1||5.3|
|Shaun Wilson (DUKE)||16||75||1||4.7|
|Juwan Wesley (NIU)||2||109||1||54.5|
|Daniel Helm (DUKE)||5||73||0||14.6|