Notre Dame wasn’t going to return up brief in one other large recreation.
On the heels of an excruciating, last-second house loss to Ohio State final week, the No. 11 Combating Irish went on the highway Saturday and pulled out an exhilarating 21-14 win over No. 17 Duke.
Notre Dame blew a 13-0 lead and allowed Duke to storm again and take a 14-13 lead with 9:17 to play. The Combating Irish sputtered offensively for a lot of the night time, and issues seemed bleak when Duke pinned Sam Hartman and the Irish offense at their very own 5-yard line with 2:35 to play.
However Hartman wouldn’t let his staff lose.
Hartman, Notre Dame’s switch quarterback, is the ACC’s all-time chief in landing passes from his time at Wake Forest. However the largest play of the night time was made with Hartman’s legs. With below a minute remaining in regulation, Notre Dame confronted a fourth-and-16 from the Duke 47.
Hartman dropped again to go and no one was open, so the sixth-year senior took off and ran. He knew an enormous hit was coming, however Hartman nonetheless dove into visitors and picked up a clutch 17 yards for a primary all the way down to hold Notre Dame’s hopes alive.
After Hartman’s clutch run, the Irish had been in field-goal vary and went again to the bottom.
As a substitute of merely establishing a discipline objective attempt, Audric Estime broke via the Duke entrance and reeled off a 30-yard landing run. It capped off a gutsy 95-yard drive and proved to be the game-winner for Notre Dame.
Following a profitable two-point conversion, Duke and quarterback Riley Leonard would get yet another alternative with 31 seconds left to ship the sport to additional time.
As a substitute, the Notre Dame protection obtained a strip-sack on Leonard to seal a gutsy victory.
With the win, Notre Dame improved to 5-1 and stored its School Soccer Playoff hopes alive. On high of that, Notre Dame elevated its common season profitable streak over ACC opponents to 30 video games.
Duke had an opportunity to start out a season 5-0 for the primary time since 1994. As a substitute, the Blue Devils fell to 4-1.
Notre Dame constructed lead, however offense sputtered
Notre Dame used a pretend punt to arrange an Estime landing run on Notre Dame’s first offensive possession. However that may be the Irish’s solely journey to the top zone till Estime’s rating within the recreation’s last minute.
The Irish, lacking a number of receivers as a consequence of harm, actually struggled to place drives collectively. There was a field-goal drive within the second quarter and one other within the third, however Notre Dame actually struggled to maneuver the ball. The Blue Devils keyed in on Estime and the Notre Dame operating assault. Earlier than his game-winning 30-yard burst, he had simply 42 yards on 16 carries.
That made life actually troublesome for Hartman. Tight finish Mitchell Evans was the one Notre Dame pass-catcher who may persistently separate. Evans caught six passes for 134 yards. Notre Dame’s different receivers had 9 catches for 88 yards mixed.
Duke put collectively a couple of drives within the first half however missed two discipline targets, together with a 25-yarder proper earlier than halftime. Within the second half, the Blue Devils started to put on on the Notre Dame entrance. Duke does not have many elite offensive weapons, however has a veteran offensive line and an skilled dual-threat QB in Leonard.
Leonard was solely 12-of-27 for 134 yards via the air, however his 88 dashing yards had been instrumental in carrying down Notre Dame’s protection. And his lone landing go of the sport got here on a third-and-goal from the 3-yard line within the fourth quarter.
It put Duke up 14-13 with 9:17 to go. Nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient as Notre Dame put collectively that 95-yard landing drive to win the sport.
What’s subsequent for Notre Dame?
Now 5-1, Notre Dame seems like a staff that’s going to play in a number of extra shut video games because the season progresses.
There’s so much to love about this Notre Dame staff, however the Irish are going to have some offensive points towards groups they can not bully within the run recreation. There have been a number of receivers out vs. Duke, however the lack of high-end pass-catchers is unquestionably a weak spot on this staff.
The schedule within the coming weeks is sort of troublesome, too. The Irish will journey to Louisville for one more prime-time begin subsequent Saturday. The Cardinals improved to 5-0 with a win over NC State on Friday.
From there, Notre Dame will host No. 8 USC on Oct. 14 after which there shall be a visit to Clemson on Nov. 4. If the Irish need to play for a nationwide championship, there is no such thing as a margin for error after the Ohio State loss final week.