Duke vs Northwestern - Thoughts, Score Prediction, and Game Notes
Duke started off a little sluggish against Lafayette this past Saturday after a very quick turn around from the Clemson win Labor Day. However Duke eventually picked up the pace and easily beat Lafayette by a score of 42 - 7. It was good to see many players get time in this game. I also thought it was very cool to see Duke play 3 quarterbacks in this game with Riley Leonard, Henry Belin IV, and Grayson Loftis all seeing the field.
Now we move onto Northwestern as Duke welcomes them to Wallace Wade Stadium this Saturday September 16th with a 3:30 PM kickoff. Northwestern has been a staple on the schedule these past few years. The game will be shown on the ACC Network. The weather as of now looks to be a sunny day in Durham. I encourage all Duke fans to come out and enjoy a Saturday afternoon of Duke football.
As of this writing, FanDuel has the line in favor of Duke at -18.5 points with an Over/Under of 48.5 points. I think Duke starts off strong in the first quarter and quickly builds a lead and doesn't look back. I am also taking the Over of 48.5 points for this game.
My score prediction.
Keep reading below for Game Notes from Duke Sports Information
HOW TO FOLLOW  Duke (2-0) vs. Northwestern (1-1) Saturday, September 16, 2023 • 3:30 PM Durham, N.C. • Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium TELEVISION • ACCN RADIO • Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD GAME NOTES • Duke Notes • Northwestern Notes LIVE STATS • GoDuke.com TWITTER • @DukeFOOTBALL
GAME NOTES With the victory over Lafayette last Saturday, Duke head coach Mike Elko is 11-4 (.733) through the first 15 games of his tenure with the Blue Devils, marking the best 15-game start to a head coaching stint in school history. Saturday's game will mark the 23rd on the gridiron between the two schools with the series currently in Duke's favor at 12-10. The Blue Devils are trying to make it five straight over their Big Ten foe, having won in 2017, 2018, 2021, and most recently last season. DEFENDING BROOKS FIELD AT WALLACE WADE STADIUM In non-conference regular season games held at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke is 18-2 (.900) in its last 10 seasons. The Blue Devils' last out-of-conference regular season loss at home came against No. 15 Notre Dame in 2019. Prior to that the last time Duke dropped a non-conference game at home was in 2015 in a contest with No. 23 Northwestern. Duke is undefeated (6-0) at home over the last two seasons against out-of-conference foes. HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS For the first time under head coach Mike Elko, Duke came back to win a game after trailing at halftime. The Blue Devils were 0-3 heading into their game against No. 9 Clemson and were trailing at the break 7-6 but went on to outscore the Tigers 22-0 in the second half to secure the win. Additionally, the Blue Devils are 2-0 this season and 10-0 overall under Elko leading after the third quarter. MANNING PASSING ACADEMY From June 22-25, quarterback Riley Leonard attended the Manning Passing Academy, which was held at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. SCORING FIRST Under head coach Mike Elko, Duke is 2-0 this season and 9-0 overall when scoring first. In seven of those nine games, the Blue Devils registered a touchdown to begin the scoring and six were on the opening drive. WINS AGAINST CURRENT FPI TOP-30 Duke is one of five schools this season to have a win over a current Football Power Index top-30 opponent. The Blue Devils join Florida State, Miami, Texas and Utah. AVERAGE PER PLAY Duke is sixth in the ACC this season with a 6.84 total offensive average per play mark. Against Lafayette during their last outing, the Blue Devils finished with a 7.80 average gain per play mark. WATERS LEADING THE RUSHING CHARGE Graduate Jordan Waters leads the team with 22 rushes for 175 yards with three touchdowns. His 7.95 yards per rush rank second in the ACC, while his rushing yards and rushing yards per game (87.50) place him fourth in the league. The Fairmont, N.C., native recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game against Lafayette after he rolled up 112 yards on 11 carries with his third career two-touchdown performance. SACKS AND TACKLES FOR LOSS ALLOWED Duke's offensive line finished 2022 ranked first in the ACC in tackles for loss allowed (3.92) and sacks allowed (1.31), while ranking eighth and 27th nationally in those categories, respectively. In just two games of 2023, the Blue Devils are first and 11th nationally in sacks and tackles for loss allowed, respectively. Duke has yet to relinquish a sack, while it is only allowing 3.50 tackles for loss per outing. PASSES HAD INTERCEPTED Duke is tied with Pittsburgh as the only two schools in the ACC that have yet to throw an interception on the year. That mark ranks the Blue Devils tied for first nationally with 28 other schools. POINTS OFF TURNOVERS Throughout Duke's 15 games under head coach Mike Elko, it has scored 94 points off of 31 opponent turnovers. Duke scored an impressive 31 points off of eight Miami turnovers on Oct. 22, 2022. STOUT DEFENSE In just two games of 2023, the Blue Devils defense has allowed only two scores in five offensive red zone possessions. That mark ranks them second in the ACC. Additionally, Duke shut out Clemson and Lafayette in the second half, marking its third second-half shutout under head coach Mike Elko (Virginia Tech - November 12, 2022). SCORING DEFENSE & TOTAL DEFENSE Duke ranks second in the ACC and eighth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 7.0 points per contest. The Blue Devils have relinquished just two touchdowns on the year and have yet to give up points in the second half. Additionally, the Blue Devils rank fourth in the ACC and 52nd nationally in total defense, allowing just 317.5 yards per game. FOURTH DOWN DEFENSE The Blue Devils' fourth down defense in 2022 limited opponents to just 11-of-26 attempts. Duke's conversion percentage allowed of .423 ranked 26th in the country. The Blue Devils have held their opening two opponents to just 1-of-4 on fourth down, and 2-of-5 in the red zone, marks that rank them fifth and second in the ACC, respectively. NET PUNTING Duke ranks first in the ACC and third nationally with a 49.00 net punting average per game. LIMITING PUNT RETURNS The Blue Devils held opponents to just 74 punt return yards last season. An average of just 5.69 yards per return. The longest return Duke allowed was a 16-yarder against Kansas. Duke's opponent yards per return ranked 37th nationally, and placed fifth in the ACC behind Virginia Tech (2.91), Miami (3.80), Pittsburgh (4.83) and Louisville (5.52). In Duke's opening two games, the Blue Devils have only relinquished three punt return yards for an average of 1.50 yards per return.