Duke vs. Northwestern fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 8
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Duke (1-0) vs. Northwestern (1-0) Game Preview
One Reason Why Duke Will Win
The defense is really, really good.
Joe Gilles-Harris is one of the best linebackers in the ACC, Mark Gilbert is one of the league’s best defensive backs, and there’s even more talent and experience across the rest of the D.
In a slight shocker, the Blue Devils didn’t let Army’s ground game go off in the opener, forcing the Knights to throw a bit too much in a 34-14 win.
Army moved the ball, and did a lot of things it usually does to control the clock, but it didn’t matter. the defense came through early, and then again when it had to in the fourth.
Offensively, QB Daniel Jones started out hot.
He hit 13-of-17 passes for close to 200 yards with a touchdown, and he ran for 43 yards and a score. He destroyed Northwestern last season with 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and threw for 305 yards and two scores. He’s better, and the team that whacked around the Wildcats 41-17 is better now, too.
One Reason Why Northwestern Will Win
The Wildcats are battle tested. They got the win they had to have on the road against Purdue when things weren’t going quite right in the second half.
The running game was fantastic, with Jeremy Larkin turning in a brilliant 143-yard, two-score day to overcome an inconsistent and shaky performance from the passing game. And now, he needs to be the workhorse again.
QB Clayton Thorson is back and shook the rust off, but he has to come up with a sharper game and start looking like a future NFL starter. He missed way too many makable throws against the Boilermakers, but coming off rehabbing his injured knee, he wasn’t quite back to himself. With a game under his belt, that should change.
If Army could throw for 197 yards on Duke, Thorson should be in for a solid day.
What’s Going To Happen
At home, Northwestern will get its revenge for last year’s loss. But like all Northwestern games, nothing will come easy.
Duke will dominate the game for long stretches, but won’t have enough to show for it, settling for too many field goals to close out drives. Northwestern won’t look like it has anything amazing planned for the Blue Devil D, and then will come the two big breaks, the field position, and the timely scores needed to somehow take over the lead late.
The Wildcats will have to hang on for dear life, but they’ll get to 2-0 – even if there’s nothing beautiful about how they got there.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Northwestern 27, Duke 23
Line: Northwestern -3, o/u: 48.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1
Must See Rating: 3
5: True Detective Season 3
1: A Million Little Things