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Northwestern vs. Duke GameThread

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DURHAM, North Carolina -- After a picture-perfect start for No. 23 Northwestern to begin 2015, the Wildcats, featuring young playmakers in leading positions on both sides of the ball, make their first road trip of the season down to 2-0 Duke. It'll be hot in Durham, with temperatures projected to rise as high as 88 degrees with over 90 percent humidity at game time.

Immediately following Northwestern's 41-0 win over Eastern Illinois last week, head coach Pat Fitzgerald was already looking ahead to the Blue Devils. In his first media appearance this week, Fitzgerald called Duke "the fastest team we've played yet this year," which isn't really a surprise based on games against Stanford and EIU, both not particularly fleet of foot. But Duke's team speed and up-tempo offense represent a new challenge for Northwestern, one that contrasts in playing style to the team's season-opening win over Stanford. Northwestern was able to physically overwhelm a notoriously downhill, physical team in Stanford. But Duke will force the Wildcats to make more open-field tackles and win one-on-one matchups on the perimeter.

To Inside NU's Henry Bushnell, the style contrast makes this game the most important of the season for Northwestern:

But a win over Duke would prove that Northwestern's triumph over Stanford wasn't just about matchups or scheme. It would prove that this team is soundly built to compete with any type of opponent; and thus, perhaps, to compete for a Big Ten West crown.

Despite the Wildcats' rise into the top 25, the Blue Devils are favored at home by four points. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and co. have wins over Tulane and North Carolina Central this season.

Northwestern will also be breaking out some clean, all-white uniforms, featuring new white helmets.

The game, broadcast by ACC Network, is available on different television channels depending on viewers' locations and also online on WatchESPN. Further details can be found here.

We'll be providing coverage from Wallace Wade Stadium, but we'd love to read your input from wherever you may be watching the game. Join us in a conversation below.