Duke Blue Devils vs Northwestern Wildcats Preview


The Duke Blue Devils have been taking care of business so far in the early season. Their victories have come against North Carolina Central and the Tulane Green Wave. Neither of those teams are impressive by normal standards, and so this game against the Northwestern Wildcats (#23) has a lot of importance. A victory against Northwestern has become one of the only ways for Duke to raise its profile before Georgia Tech rolls into town. Duke gets the Wildcats at home where they would have the advantage. This opportunity is right there for the taking.

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With UNC playing Illinois and Duke playing Northwestern, do we need an ACC-Big Ten Challenge in football? Just a thought since we already seem to have the Illinois-North Carolina challenge.

Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats (2-0) #23
Date: September 19
Time: 12:30
Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium

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X – Stop Justin Jackson
Northwestern’s big win of the year came against Stanford. The statistical leader of that game was running back Justin Jackson, who led his team with 134 yards. Jackson may not have found the end zone in that game, but his greater than four yards per carry rushing extended drives. It also opened up quarterback Clayton Thorson to become a secondary runner. He did get a score against the Cardinal.

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  • Y – Don’t Depend on Thomas Sirk
    Sirk had a good game against North Carolina Central. The problem is that it was North Carolina CENTRAL. It is still not time to hand Sirk the ball and tell him to go win one that does not involve his legs. Duke needs to control the ball and keep the Wildcats own running game off the field. The week before Georgia Tech is not the time to have a game where your defense gets gassed and beat up. Shaun Wilson needs to back up his call out of Northwestern lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo. Odenigbo said that the Wildcats planned to shut Duke out as they had Eastern Illinois as reported in the AP. Wilson said that would not happen.

    Z – Private Showdown
    Duke and Northwestern are recognized as top schools in the country for academic reasons. Duke has the better athletic history over the long run, although Northwestern has not been truly bad in football since the mid-nineties. Duke has Coach K and his five rings. Northwestern has former K assistant Chris Collins and has never been to the NCAA Tournament. There might be some pride on the line here in Durham tomorrow between two high achieving programs.

    Prediction: 20-17, Duke

    Next: Amway Coaches Poll: Week 3