College football bowl season continues on Tuesday, December 26, 2017 with Duke and Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Duke rallied to win its final two games of the in order to make a bowl game under David Cutcliffe, who turned down the Tennessee job. Northern Illinois meanwhile went 8-4 during the regular season.
College football bowl schedule: Time, TV channel, live stream for Duke-Northern Illinois in Quick Lane Bowl
Time: The 2017 Quick Lane Bowl between Duke and Northern Illinois is scheduled for 5:15.
Location: The 2017 Quick Lane Bowl between Duke and Northern Illinois will air on ESPN
Live stream: The 2017 Quick Lane Bowl between Duke and Northern Illinois can be live streamed on the WatchESPN app, provided that you have a subscription.
Odds: Duke is a 2.5-point favorite.
Preview: Via Dave Holcomb of Diehards.com
After going 4-8 last season, the Blue Devils are back in a bowl game and will be looking for just their second postseason victory since 1960. Duke snapped its long bowl victory drought two years ago when they beat Indiana, 44-41, in the Pinstripe Bowl.
The Blue Devils won two more games this season behind a vastly improved defense. They finished fourth in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 20.8 points per game, which is 8.0 points better than a year ago. The Blue Devils also yielded nearly 80 fewer yards per week than last season, finishing third in that category in the ACC (335.4 yards per game).
That defense helped Duke get off to a fast start, beginning the year 4-0. The Blue Devils yielded 20 points during that winning streak just once and beat Northwestern, Baylor and North Carolina.
But from there, the Blue Devils’ season went into a tail spin. Duke lost the next six games, all of which came inside ACC play with the exception of the final defeat that came against Army.
However, the defense still played well during that stretch, giving up more than 24 points just twice and 30-plus points to only Coastal division winning Miami. It was the Blue Devils offense that really struggled.
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones took a step back in his second year of starting in Durham. Jones completed 7.0 percent fewer of his passes than a year ago, which resulted in more than half a yard less per pass attempt than his freshman season. He also had just 12 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions. In 2016, he posted 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
But Duke was able to overcome the shaky quarterback play with an improved rushing attack. Senior Shaun Wilson led the team with 743 rushing yards and five touchdowns while also chipping in 32 receptions, 241 receiving yards and three more scores. But freshman back Brittain Brown was arguably just as good, rushing for 660 yards and scoring six touchdowns.
Both backs averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry.
Wilson and Brown helped Duke rush for 319 yards in Week 12 to beat Georgia Tech, 43-20, and snap the team’s six-game losing streak. Then with bowl eligibility on the line, both backs scored in Week 13, and Jones threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns in a, 31-23, victory against Wake Forest to earn a sixth win.
Northern Illinois went 8-4 this season to finish second in the MAC West division. The Huskies played one ACC opponent this season, the Boston College Eagles in Week 1, and while Boston College won, Northern Illinois played very well, losing only by 3.
Just like the Blue Devils, this will be the Huskies first trip to a bowl since 2015, but the last time Northern Illinois won in the postseason was after the 2011 season against Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The Huskies are 4-7 all-time in bowl games.
The Quick Lane bowl has a very brief history, having begun in 2014. Rutgers won the inaugural matchup, beating North Carolina, 40-21. Boston College became the first ACC team to win the Quick Lane Bowl last year, defeating Maryland, 36-30.
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