Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 9, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 36 of 55 NOV. 9, 2019 37 MORE TURNOVER TRAVAILS Prior to November, Blue & Gold Il- lustrated mused that it's unlikely any Notre Dame in the past had a schedule where four consecutive opponents in November (Virginia Tech, Duke, Navy and Boston College) had a bye the week prior to facing the Fighting Irish. Duke represents another four- game stretch on the Notre Dame schedule when the opponent ranked near the bottom in turnover margin. • USC was 123rd in turnover mar- gin, yet committed none at Notre Dame Oct. 12, which helped keep it in the game in the 30-27 defeat. The fortunate aspect for the Irish is they had zero as well, where just one could have made a difference in this game. • Michigan ranked in the 100s most of the year before coming into the game at No. 84. Yet despite inclement, wet conditions, the Wolverines, like- wise, had zero turnovers versus Notre Dame in their 45-14 rout at home. • Virginia Tech ranked 117th in turnover margin entering the contest at Notre Dame Nov. 2, while Duke is 108th. More alarming for the Blue Devils is they were 123rd in turnovers committed with 19. Seventeen came in their four defeats during their 4-4 start. In the 33-30 loss at home to Pitt Oct. 5, Duke committed six turnovers (three fumbles and three intercep- tions), yet still rallied from a 26-3 third-quarter deficit to move ahead 30-26 before the Panthers marched 82 yards in four plays to tally the win- ning touchdown with 38 seconds left. The most devastating turnover this season for the Blue Devils was their most recent in the 20-17 defeat at North Carolina Oct. 26. Duke had a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line with 18 seconds left, but a halfback jump pass by junior Deon Jackson was in- tercepted with 14 seconds remaining to seal the Tar Heels' victory. It was the third turnover in the game by Duke. A week earlier in a 48-14 meltdown at Virginia, the Blue Devils had five turnovers. RECRUITING AISLES In the same manner that Notre Dame's football recruiting aisle is typically deemed about 10 slots lower from top southern powers and Ohio State, so too is the Fighting Irish top-15 caliber harvests compared to Duke, which falls more into the top 50 category. Duke's 2012-16 Rivals recruiting rankings were No. 56 (2012), No. 69 (2013), No. 59 (2014), No. 63 (2015) and No. 33 (2016). The latter was classified as a bonanza haul, but at Notre Dame would be categorized as a travesty. Still, the Blue Devils rallied from an early 14-0 deficit at Notre Dame to post a 38-35 victory — resulting in Duke director of athletics Kevin White, who held the same post at Notre Dame from 2000-08, getting presented the game ball, while Fighting Irish defen- sive coordinator Brian VanGorder was issued his walking papers. The Blue Devils quarterback that day was Daniel Jones (24 of 32 for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception), who enrolled without any rating from Rivals and became the No. 6 overall pick (New York Gi- ants) in last spring's NFL Draft. This past year's 21-man freshman class was ranked 49th, with one four- star player signed and 15 three-stars. In 2019, it was 65th with one four- star and 14 three-stars, and in 2017 it was 46th with one four-star and 18 three-stars. ✦ GAME PREVIEW: DUKE Quarterback Daniel Jones, an unrated recruit who developed into the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, completed 24 of 32 throws for 290 yards with three touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to a 38-35 win in South Bend in 2016. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA Predictions Todd Burlage: Notre Dame 31, Duke 20 Coming off a bye week, this Duke team provides Notre Dame with a difficult challenge in an unfamil- iar road environment, but the Irish haven't lost a true road game against an unranked opponent since North Carolina State in 2016. Vince DeDario: Notre Dame 31, Duke 23 Duke is coming off back-to-back loses to North Carolina and Virginia and appeared to be reeling, but had the bye week to regroup. Notre Dame's offense gets back on track and will need to in a one- possession final. Andrew Mentock: Notre Dame 27, Duke 21 Duke has a top-20 Team Efficiency Defense, per ESPN, which allows the Blue Devils to keep this game closer than one might expect. Still, the Irish will be able to exploit Duke quarterback Quentin Harris. The Irish score or obtain good field position due to turnovers and win a game that's closer than Notre Dame fans expect. Mike Singer: Notre Dame 48, Duke 14 Duke has played well at home this season and is coming off a bye week, but can the Blue Devils snap a two-game losing streak? No. The Irish will still crush Duke. Lou Somogyi: Notre Dame 28, Duke 17 David Cutcliffe has worked wonders at what not long ago was the worst Power Five football program in the nation, but basketball season begins this week and that is where the real action is in Durham.

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