Duke vs. Northern Illinois, Quick Lane Bowl: Prediction, pick, line, odds, live stream

NCAAF

Duke and Northern Illinois will square off on Tuesday afternoon in the Motor City in what should be a tremendous matchup between the multi-dimensional rushing attack of the Blue Devils and a stout Huskies’ run defense. The Blue Devils won their final two games to become bowl eligible, while the Huskies lost two of their last four, including the regular season finale against Central Michigan.

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Storylines

Duke: The passing game has been hit or miss for Duke this year, but the running game has been consistently solid throughout the entire 2017 season. Shaun Wilsonhad 743 yards and five scores, Brittain Brown had 660 yards and six touchdowns, and quarterback Daniel Jones 432 yards and six touchdowns. Jones hasn’t had the best year through the air (12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions), so establishing the run early will be job No. 1 for coach David Cutcliffe’s crew.

Northern Illinois: The Huskies run defense has been the one constant for coach Rod Carey and Co. throughout the entire season. They rank No. 12 nationally in run defense (112.25 yards per game) and third in rushing yards per attempt (2.84). Offensively, they’ve been similar to Duke all year with a multi-dimensional rushing attack that features tailback Jordan Huff (740 yards, four touchdowns) and quarterback Marcus Childers (454 yards, five touchdowns). But Huff will sit out this game with an ankle injury, which will put pressure on sophomore Marcus Jones.

Prediction

While the Huskies will benefit from bowl practices to compensate for Huff’s absence, it won’t be enough to get the job done against Duke. Both teams will try to grind it out in Detroit with the Blue Devils having more consistent success. Wilson and Brown will combine to go north of 175 rushing yards, Jones will have some success of his own, and the Blue Devil offensive line will take control of the line of scrimmage. A couple of big plays in the second half will put it away and give Cutcliffe his second bowl win as Duke’s coach. Pick: Duke (-5.5)