One number stands out
When I look at Duke’s matchup with the Northwestern Wildcats, there is a number that catches my eye immediately. 355. That’s how many passing yards Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson had against Northwestern two weeks ago. It makes me think of how well Blue Devils quarterback Riley Leonard threw the ball in the opener against Temple last week and leads me to believe the passing game for Duke football is primed for a big day against the Wildcats.
Thompson threw for that 355 while running for his life most of the day behind a porous offensive line. He’s an experienced quarterback with very good mobility, but I don’t think he’s very accurate. Leonard may not be as experienced, but he’s very mobile and is a much better passer than Thompson. Against Temple, the Duke sophomore showed the ability to make a myriad of throws while in the pocket or moving and even change his arm angle when needed. If the Blue Devil offensive line holds up, Leonard could light up the Wildcat secondary.
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Receivers emerging as playmakers
I like this group of Blue Devil receivers. The foursome of Jalon Calhoun, Jordan Moore, Eli Pancol, and Sahmir Hagans all showed the ability to make the catch and do something after. Of Calhoun’s ninety receiving yards, fifty-one came after the catch. Moore, the converted quarterback, made his presence known the first time he touched the ball last week when he took a short pass from Leonard and weaved his way to a fifty-two yard gain. Pancol might be the most athletic and Hagans the fastest. Earlier this week, Calhoun talked about the talent among the receivers,
"“We have a lot of playmakers, some that didn’t even touch the ball Friday. That’s what makes this room so special, because we have so many weapons you can’t key in on just one player.”"
Northwestern’s pass defense is an area I think the Blue Devils are well equipped to exploit. If the offensive line can give Leonard time and the receivers are able to fight their way off the line of scrimmage and get into their routes, I think the Duke passing game is going to have a very big day against the Wildcats.