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College Football Bowl Previews

Jeff Shain, OFN CFB writer
12/26/2017 3:04PM ET

NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-4) VS. DUKE (6-6)
 

Site: Ford Field, Detroit.

Kickoff: Tuesday, 5:15 p.m. TV: ESPN.

Line: Duke by 5 ½.

All-time series: First meeting.

Last meeting: None.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

Coach: Rod Carey (5th season, 44-23).

All-time postseason: 4-7.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to Boise State 55-7 in 2015 Poinsettia Bowl.

Draft spotlight: *LT Max Scharping. A two-time All-MAC selection after earning Freshman All-America honors, the Wisconsin native has excelled at both guard and tackle. Ideally built for LT at 6-6 and 320 pounds, Scharping excels at the mental game, too – he carries a 3.9 GPA as a kinesiology major.

Other Huskies to watch: TE Shane Wimann, *DE Sutton Smith, LB Bobby Jones IV, *LB Jawuan Johnson.

Husky Tales: Smith leads the nation in both sacks (14) and TFLs (28 ½), becoming just the second man in NIU history to earn consensus All-America honors. … NIU  returns to the postseason after a one-year hiatus, which followed eight consecutive bowl berths. … The Huskies are no stranger to Ford Field, going 3-4 there in MAC Championship games.

DUKE

Coach: David Cutcliffe (10th season, 58-67; overall 16th season, 120-96).

All-time postseason: 4-8.

Last postseason appearance: Beat Indiana 44-41 (OT) in 2015 Pinstripe Bowl.

Draft spotlight: T Evan Lisle. Grad transfer made the most of his move from Ohio State, where he struggled to find playing time. Started every game at right tackle and helped the Blue Devils average 378.1 yards of total offense in 2017.

Other Blue Devils to watch: C Austin Davis, DT Mike Ramsay, CB Bryon Fields.

Devil Tracks: Duke has allowed 24 or fewer points in 10 of their 12 regular-season games. … The Blue Devils have given up an average of just 20.8 points per game, the first time under 21 since 1977. … Duke is playing its fifth bowl game in the past six seasons. In the 99 seasons before that, Duke made eight bowl trips. … Duke is 0-5 in the state of Michigan – all losses to the Wolverines.

* underclass draft prospect


Click here to listen to a preview of the bowl season beginning on the 26th of December through New Year’s Day and the CFB Playoffs including the Quick Lane Bowl.