Lowes Line


Duke Preview and Prediction

By MO'Cats

Matchup: Northwestern Wildcats (1-1) at #21 Duke Blue Devils (2-0)
Location:  Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023, 2:30 pm CDT
TV: ACC Network (is that a thing, no seriously, that still exists?)
Line: Northwestern (+18.5), o/u: 48.5

Outlook:  Hmmm, after a preview of a Texas team last week that left many of us speechless, the Lowes Line is back to tackle the NU-Duke game.   The ‘Cats dominated this series earlier this century winning 8 of 9, with the Blue Devils winning the past 4.   These teams have diverged as mightily as one facing two paths in a Robert Frost poem.  Duke started the season by bouncing perennial powerhouse Clemson and then easily cruising past Lafayette to start the season 2-0 and entering the rankings at #21.   Northwestern was absolutely throttled opening week by Rutgers (a team that may be better than the Rutgers we all think) after a tumultuous off season.   Coach Fitz will go down in history as the greatest head coach at NU.  His accomplishments include multiple B1G wins, championship games and bowl victories which will be challenging for anyone to replicate given the limitations facing college football programs surrounded by NIL, transfer portals and a growing coalition of big money.  Coach David Braun was hired as Defensive Coordinator, and I for one was very excited.   He arrived from North Dakota St, a FCS powerhouse.  He led a defense for 4 years winning two FCS titles.   He was brought in to return the Wildcats to the defense that had been missing since Coach Hank had retired.   He has a winning pedigree and I will say RIGHT NOW, Coach Braun should be given the opportunity to have the interim removed from his title.   The ‘Cats may win only one more game on their slate this season but the players have seemingly rallied around him. 
Last week, NU walloped the Miners 38-7.  Three QB’s scored or led scoring drives with Jack Lausch carving a role in this offense and will likely take 25% of the snaps this week.   After a 7-7 tie at half, the defense firmed up and the offense began clicking.   Ben Bryant threw for a TD and ran for another.  After getting banged up, a Ryan Hilinski sighting occurred as he threw a screen pass to Joseph Himon II.   If you watch one highlight from last week, watch this one.  Himon exceeded 20 mph as he sped past defenders for 85 yards, one of the longest touchdowns in NU history.  Captain Bryce Gallaher continues to lead the defense with an interception and seemingly is on every play.   Overall, the second half was great. 
Duke is led by QB Riley Leonard and a massive OL.  They have been impressive this season and will contend to be in the ACC championship game this season.   Jordan Waters and the Devils will attempt to establish the run against the Wildcats with Leonard opening up enough space with the passing game.  
Pick: Well, despite my optimism for the future (I know I am one of the few), Duke rolls today.   38-12, covering and a late score pushes the over.

Season to date: 0-2 ATS, 1-1 SU

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 Lone Star Cat, GallopingGrapes, P.S. O'Briant, Eric Cockerill, Joel Kanvik, Charlie Simon, and MO'Cats) have continued the Line in memory of Marcus.  For the 2032 season it has returned to HailToPurple.com, for anyone to enjoy.  Thanks to the gridiron brain trust at the Lowes Line!