Duke Preview and Prediction
By Hans Steckly
Matchup: Northwestern Wildcats at Duke Blue Devils
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, 11:00 am CDT
Line: Northwestern (-3)
Dukie said it.
In May, Duke extended head coach David Cutcliffe's contract to
2021. Athletic Director Kevin White said "Simply put, Duke
University is terribly honored and very proud to have one of the truly
pinnacle football coaches in the country leading the Blue Devil program
into the next decade." This statement was far from simply put and
my 6-year-old has dropped fifty-cent words into more coherent
sentences. Is terribly honored a good thing? Is pinnacle
supposed to be an adjective?
So, I think they are happy to have him as their coach and they should
be. He's an excellent offensive mind and has vastly improved
their program in his nine years there. But, recruiting wise, I'm
not sure how he let their current roster get so light on upperclassmen.
Duck of Death
Duke has a talented freshman class and their offense is led by a former
walk-on, sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones (6'5" 215). He got
the job when their starter Sirk got hurt before last season, so he has
a year of experience. The Cats got to face him last year before
he'd settled in, but he's a good and accurate quarterback. He's
riding a streak of 198 passes without an interception; it helps that
his passes last year only averaged about 5 yards. And, he was the
team's 2nd leading rusher last year.
Duke put up 60 last week, which they haven't done since Truman was
president. They already had 47 at half. But, their
opponent, North Carolina Central, is in Raleigh and has to recruit from
the locals that UNC, NCST, and Duke don't take.
On defense, they are raving about the performance they got last week
out of freshman defensive ends Victor Dimukeje and Drew Jordan.
Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched
Apparently those playing secondary for The Cats can expect to be
scratched....from the lineup. The Cats secondary was dinged up
before the season even started with senior corner Keith Watkins II
sustaining an injury that it turns out will have him out for the second
straight year. CB Brian Bullock will also be out this week and CB
Marcus McShepard is questionable. Duke doesn't normally throw
many deep passes but they might see an opportunity in the combination
of our weakened secondary and absence of pass rush.
Clayton Thorson seemed to be the biggest positive to come out of the
Nevada game. One might even call him the truly pinnacle player of
the game. He was 28/38 for 352 yds, 2 td passes to go with a
rushing td and 1 INT. And, part of those results is the
confidence in him and aggressive play calling with which Fitz, or the
O.C. McCall, shocked the NU world.
The o-line and JJ need to do better. He had 109 yds on 30
carries. Other than Duke's frosh DEs, NU should be able to take
advantage of the d-line and run the ball.
Northwestern uses Nevada game as a wake-up call while Duke youth comes
in over-confident from their win over the local high school team.
Simply put, Cats find themselves terribly honored to leave the Devils
Pick: Northwestern 34, Duke 24
Season to date: SU 1-0, ATS 1-0
The Lowes Line is an
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football game, with an invariably fearless prediction of the outcome
how NU will fare against what the other "experts" predict. Our
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The crack Lowes Line Staff (alumni Jersey Cat,
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the 2017 season it has returned to HailToPurple.com,
for anyone to enjoy. Thanks to the gridiron brain trust at the Lowes