Lowes Line


Duke Preview and Prediction

By Hans Steckly

Matchup: Duke Blue Devils (1-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (1-0)
Date: Saturday, September 8, 2018, 11:00 am CDT, Ryan Field
Line: Northwestern (-3)


Duke is puke, Wake is fake, who we hate is NC State.

It's a fun little jingle that our child brought home from kindergarten last year.

Do I need to rehash last year's matchup?  41-17.  A lot of overall yards vs a little.  Great game for Daniel Jones and TJ Rahming.  Cats had 22 rushing yards on 21 carries.  As Harry Doyle would say, "That's all we got, one goddamn yard per carry?"

Fitz said "We were out-coached, out-executed, out-played.  That starts and ends with me."

I'm not sure what the difference is between out-executed and out-played.  Maybe he meant to say we were executed and out-played.  But, what I'm wondering is what has changed in a year.  Did Duke get better or worse?  They went on to lose 6 in a row in the middle of their season, but finished with  3 wins in a row before thumping NU again in the Quick Lane Bowl.....Wait, that was NIU.  Well Duke couldn't seem to tell the difference.

Nonetheless, Jones has developed into a better quarterback while Thorson is good but has a major knee injury to overcome.  Justin Jackson is gone as are Igwebuike, Queiro, and Lancaster--the best parts of the worst pass D in the Big 10.  Meanwhile, Jones and Rahming return with 5 other starters on O, and 8 return for a defense ranked 21st in the nation last year.

And....I'm a Fitz fan, but what is the likelihood that he won't be out-coached by Cutcliffe again?

So, how is NU favored by 3 and experts are picking them to handily cover?  It's like picking me to make a good impression at a date party; I feel like they just don't know me.

The one area that Cats could have gained an edge is mentally, only because they must have had their steel confiscated last year when they passed through the mettle detector before the flight to Durham.  There's a big maybe that they can write the blowout off to showing up flat, and they can show up at home with a score to settle.

We might want to take away the Cats' pledge pin before the party starts, but I can't pick against them when they are favored.  However, the only way I foresee victory is if it comes down to a last touchdown and Duke goes for 2 on the road; we double cover Rahming, forcing a pass to a tight end who can't quite hold on to it.

Pick: In a squeaker Northwestern 24 - Puke 23.

Lowes Line ytd 1-0 and 1-0 ATS


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 2018 season it has returned to HailToPurple.com, for anyone to enjoy.  Thanks to the gridiron brain trust at the Lowes Line!