Prediction Saturday – Duke

Justin+Jackson+Northwestern+v+Duke+nX0qWqIm3bGl

The ‘Cats are 1-0, with a trip down to Durham on the docket for week two. Most of the Warriors think this will be a close one, and all but one agree on the final outcome. Here are the Warriors’ picks for NU-Duke.

 

ROGER

Last week was interesting, though not altogether unexpected for a week 1 game.

Positive thinking would have me believe that the 2nd half performance is more true to form for the ‘Cats. Thorson looked like the real deal, our receiving corps made plays and our defense stiffened up when necessary. That said, there were still major issues on both lines. We never did open up any lanes for JJ against a team that had one of the worst rushing defenses in FBS last year. We also rarely (if ever) pressured the Nevada QB. That has to change this week if we want to win. Duke may not be Alabama, but I have to imagine they are going to be better than Nevada this year.

Game Prediction:

Let’s start on the offensive side of the ball. Is Fitz going to be aggressive? Is McCall going to call plays rationally? If yes to both of those, then I would expect a HEAVY aerial assault early in this game with the occasional wide running play to neutralize the inside blocking issues we’re still sorting out. Duke’s defense is young. They don’t have the same caliber of player on the perimeter that they have had in prior years (think 2015) and we have a QB who can clearly sling it.

Sadly, Fitz and McCall rarely do what we want them to do early in games. So, I expect plenty of inside running plays on first and second down to put us in precarious third down spots. If that plays out, we’re going to need to be on our game defensively to not put ourselves in the same hole we did last week.

On defense, the ‘Cats need to be better than they were last week. Plain and simple. Duke’s offense may be a bit more predictable than Nevada, but they have better players. Duke’s QB, Daniel Jones, is certainly respectable. He’s poised for a bit of a breakout year. He’ll throw the ball downfield, but he’s also mobile and more than willing to run away from trouble. It’s absolutely imperative that we establish some pressure on the ends and keep him contained in the pocket. If we can do that, our linebackers will need to look like they are actually on the field this week so Danny Boy doesn’t go scampering for first downs left and right.

How is the game going to play out? Well, I think you’re going to see the conservative ‘Cats for the first quarter and a half. We’ll struggle to sustain drives due to poor play calling on first and second down. I fully expect that to put is in a hole. I’m thinking we’ll be down something like 10-0 or 14-3 in the middle of the second quarter when Fitz realizes once and for all what he’s working with: an NFL caliber QB and one of the best backs in space the program has ever had. The bullshit will end. The offense will light it up. The ‘Cats will take the lead just before the half and it will be off to the races in the 2nd half.

Game Score:

‘Cats 38 – Duke 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

The D ends. Can we put some pressure on Daniel Jones? Can we at least contain him to the pocket? I’m not so sure. I wasn’t pleased with what I saw last week, but who knows. This unit is going to be key here.

Warrior to Watch:

Gotta be Andy Day again, right? With an early kickoff, how is Andy going to fare now that he’s back on the west coast? 9am football is certainly not ideal, but I bet the Jager will be flowing.

Other Game to Watch:

Lots of good football this weekend. OU @ OSU would be the obvious choice here, but I think both of those teams are pretenders. So, I’m going to go with Auburn @ Clemson. I think both of those teams are contenders (even with Clemson’s loss of Watson). Should be a dandy.

 

HACK

After missing last weeks predictions due to a Bachelor party, I’m back. With only one regrettable tweet at the NU football account, (apologies to Ben Skowronek, who actually played well) I’d say I had a similar beginning to the season as the Cats.

Game Prediction:

They can’t stop us, the question is can we stop them. I’d say a strong maybe because we have the best player on the field in our secondary, Moe Asamani(lol jk but what a story). Justin Jackson and clayton combine for 600 yards of O in this one as the Cats roll baby.

Game Score:

‘Cats 45 – Duke 35

Player/Unit To Watch:

O Line, are they men or merely large boys?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger, will he be the drunkest person in the bar? Signs point to yes…

Other Game to Watch:

OU @ OSU

 

ZVON

This will be a big game, going to need to win.  That’s all.  If you wanna be the best, you don’t lose to the worst.

Game Prediction:

Defense suspect, offense solid.  Thorson runs for one, throws one, hands off for one.  I’m not convinced we’ll score much more.  It will be a close one.

Game Score:

‘Cats 27 – Duke 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

Justin Jackson the ball carrier.  Guy will get some yards.  One TD on a long one – 50+ yards.

Warrior to Watch:

Roger – he’s Roger.  Missed game one in person so he’ll need to make up for the beers lost.

Other Game to Watch:

OU @ OSU – why not?

Warrior of the Week:

Andy Day.  He made the trip out for the last game and did a lot of the setup so you all could enjoy Rose.  Big round o’ applause!

 

DOC ROCHE

I had a nightmare last night that I was abducted by a gang of mimes.

They did unspeakable things to me.

Game Prediction:

While I think the #B1GCats are much better than Duke, I think this game will be close. I think Bigsby will have another statistically great game, but It’ll come down to the fourth quarter.

Game Score:

#B1GCats 28 – Duke 24

Player/Unit to Watch:

JFC can the D-line get any pressure?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger is angry at how poorly the USMNT have played in the CONCACAF qualifying. Will he try to drown his anger in alcohol. Yes. Yes he will

Other Game to Watch:

Penn State – Pitt. Ain’t no way PSU is gonna let Pitt embarrass them this year. Especially not in State College. Got a bunch of friends going to this game. Last thing I want is for PSU to have a humbling loss before they play the #B1GCats.

 

ADAY

Well guys, I turns out the pessimist in me was pretty spot on last week. Looks like the pessimistic predictions shall continue.

Game Prediction:

Dook has success downfield against our depleted secondary as we continue to fail to pressure the QB. Our O-Line prevents our run game from living up to the hype yet again, and while we do score, we don’t score enough. Also our lack of ability to make (or even attempt at this point) 30-40 yard field goals is the deciding factor. It will be a little higher scoring, but all in all it will feel a lot like this game.

Game Score:

Dook 24 – NU 20 (Missed XP)

 Player/Unit to Watch:

Marcus McShepard or whoever plays in his place. He got toasted on a few plays by Nevadas wideouts. Will this be a trend?

Warrior to Watch:

I’m gonna say Roger here. If things start spiraling for the ‘Cats this week, his consumption rates are soon to follow.

Other Game to Watch:

OSU vs Oklahoma – I’m curious to see if OSU is actually for real.

 

PAUL

We looked pretty mediocre last week.
As I’m still in Spain going to keep this short and sweet.
Game Overview:
Need the run game to come thru.
Game Score:
NU squeaks one out 23-21.
Warrior to Watch:
Trent is the warrior to watch this week. What will he come up with after bringing the Dons last week??
TRENT

Another year, another game against Duke. Can we find a more interesting non-con opponent? At least we’ve got Notre Dame next year, and Stanford the year after that. But please, no more Duke.

Game Prediction:

I went into the game for the first half last week and we didn’t look great, to put it mildly. We needed to leave at halftime to switch up the juju and watch the second half with our van Rose. Sure enough, the ‘Cats came back from 10 down to win by a not-nearly-as-comfortable-as-it-looks 11 points. My thoughts from the first game were that our lines didn’t look any good – we only hurried Nevada’s QB one time and didn’t get any sacks. Clayton “Bigsby” Thorson looked damn good though – and his WRs looked better than I expected. Skowronek was a huge cog in the offense, and Thorson’s safety net as I mentioned he may be back in this post.

All things considered, I was pretty happy with the end result. Sure we didn’t look good and we struggled – but we ended up winning the game by 11 points. Last year we lost two of those close games in a row to start off the year – getting the W in a similar type early sleepwalk game was huge. And, at the end of the year when the CFP Committee is taking a look at our resume, all they’ll see is that 11 point victory. I kid, I kid (kinda).

I know nothing about Duke except I read they’ve got a mobile QB, which I’m sure will give us fits. I see a close game, where Thorson starts the game strong and JJ finishes as we pass early to set up the run late. Our D will get an opportunistic turnover late in the game to seal a tight win in hot conditions.

Game Score:

‘Cats 24 – Duke 21

 Player/Unit to Watch:

Last week I put our freshman kicker in this slot, and he sure enough was a player to watch as he missed a chip shot FG for a strong start to his career. I’ll give the aptly nicknamed Charlie “Ice” Kuhbander a break this week and slot Flynn Nagel in here. I think Flynn steps up with a big TD this week.

Warrior to Watch:

I’m going to take this opportunity to say we tried the Buffalo Joe’s in the stadium last week, and what a huge plus. Watching live ‘Cats football with Buff Joe’s in hand was phenomenal.

This week my Warrior to Watch is Pat Grayhack. Hack is going hard on Saturday, I can feel it. Given his VCU ties I know he’s a Duke hater.

Other Game to Watch:

I’m going with USC-Stanford. My sis goes to USC so gotta pull for the Trojans. Great slate of football this week btw.

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