Even though they’re not exactly diehard rivals, the storylines and head-to-head between the Northwestern Wildcats and Duke Blue Devils could tell you otherwise. Thus far, they’ve faced 20 times in their history, with both teams logging 10 wins. Also, in their past 4 meetings, the Blue Devils took 2 straight right after the Wildcats beat them back-to-back times. It doesn’t get any closer than that, and this game shouldn’t be the exception.
While they both enter the season with slightly different aspirations, Northwestern and Duke make it to this game in nearly identical situations. They both have a 1-1 record and were able to bounce back after a tough season opener, although it’s also worth noting that they haven’t been on the same level in terms of the rivals they’ve faced.
Wildcats looking to keep momentum goingThe Northwestern Wildcats were one of the most surprising teams in the nation last season. And, albeit replicating that success will be an uphill battle for this program, they’ve shown some interesting things throughout the first couple of weeks, especially during that 24-6 victory over Indiana State.
The Wildcats dropped the ball with a 38-21 home loss to Michigan State in Week 1, being completely overpowered from start to finish. Their biggest concern right now is getting stops, as they’re allowing 354.5 total yards per game, 178.5 of them on the ground. Also, rivals convert on third-down at a 30.8% rate, which is the 98th worst in the country.
Blue Devils want to make a statementThe Duke Blue Devils, on the other hand, didn’t look good at all during their first game of the season. They lost to Charlotte 31-28 despite Gunnar Holmberg’s 228 yards and one passing touchdown. Mataeo Durant was the biggest bright spot of the game, rushing for 255 yards and 3 scores in 29 carries.
Headshots… but make it ✨𝓯𝓸𝓸𝓽𝓫𝓪𝓵𝓵 ✨ pic.twitter.com/sAGYfNAqec— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) September 15, 2021
Duke bounced back as expected in the following game vs. the North Carolina A&T Aggies, torching them 45-17 thanks to another 3-touchdown performance by Mataeo Durant. This time, however, they’ll have to step up in class against a non-FCS rival that will definitely put in a bigger fight.
- Blue Devils are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 275 yards in the previous game.
- Blue Devils are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big Ten rivals.
- Wildcats are 5-0 in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards in the previous game.
- Wildcats are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight-up win.