Lowes Line


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 feeling blue.

Pick:  Northwestern 34, Duke 24
Season to date: SU 1-0, ATS 1-0


The Lowes Line is an e-mailed description of NU's next football game, with an invariably fearless prediction of the outcome and how NU will fare against what the other "experts" predict.  Our good friend and Brother Marcus Lowes began the broadcast mailing in 1996.  The crack Lowes Line Staff (alumni Jersey Cat, GallopingGrapes, Eric Cockerill, Joel Kanvik, Charlie Simon, and MO'Cats) have continued the Line in memory of Marcus.  For the 2017 season it has returned to HailToPurple.com, for anyone to enjoy.  Thanks to the gridiron brain trust at the Lowes Line!