Next Up: Northwestern

Joe Giles-Harris (44) calls for a recovered fumble as players pile on. © Duke Athletics

Duke will visit a familiar face this weekend: they’ve had a thing going with the Wildcats for a while and beat them pretty handily last year (they hadn’t otherwise) but Northwestern is good again and will be a really tough opponent, especially on their home soil.

For one thing (and no diss to Army) there’s a pretty big step up in the quality of the D-line, and Duke’s young offensive line needs to step it up to protect our quarterback. Daniel Jones thrived on the run-pass option play last year and absolutely befuddled the Wildcats’ linebackers. This year, without some key guys on the offensive line, that won’t be so easy and the offensive line will be a vital part of our success.

Last year Duke kept their offensive guys on the field, and while tiring, that was rewarding as it kept the NU offense off of it. The Northwestern offense is good but extremely inconsistent from the small sample we’ve had. That or Purdue really locked in on defense: in week one, the Wildcats scored 31 in the first half alone and then were held scoreless in the second half of play. The Boilermakers didn’t get quite enough offense going and Northwestern won, 31-27. It’s really difficult to go from 30 minutes/31 points to zero. I have no idea what happened but the only thing we need to be sure of is that they don’t score 31 in the first half in the first place. They also play two quarterbacks, so Duke has both of those guys to worry about.

Offensively, Brittain Brown should play after last week’s little scare, which eliminates lots of worries for one of Duke’s star players. I’m confident in both the offense and defense for the Blue Devils. We just have to get both rolling to limit and then hit the Wildcats where it hurts them (football-wise).

InsideNU is thinking vengeance (and lots of other comments about my hometown, our students, and our football program simply because we kicked their rear ends last season). We’re thinking validation that last season’s dub was no fluke. Bleed blue.

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