Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 3, 2016

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 55

22 OCT. 3, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MATT JONES I n his postgame media address after one of the worst losses in his seven seasons in South Bend, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly tried to stay calm. After watching his Fighting Irish team get pushed around by Duke in a 38-35 loss at Notre Dame Stadium, the 54-year-old Kelly lasted just a couple minutes before really speak- ing his mind. "I told our guys essentially that we're going in the wrong direction," Kelly said. With less than a minute to go, junior quarterback DeShone Kizer took the shotgun snap on fourth-and-three from his 44-yard line, looked left and threw a pass toward sophomore wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Once the pass fell incomplete, Kelly's Irish had suf- fered their third loss in the month of September, making those preseason darkhorse College Football Playoff pro- jections look all the more far fetched. In Notre Dame's last five games against Power Five conference teams, the Irish are 0-5. "They competed, they want to win, but we're not doing the things neces- sary to win games," Kelly said of his team. "It's hard to point them all out to you in a press conference right now, but we'll have to do some … we'll have to do a lot more work to get this group to start winning." Notre Dame was a 21-point favorite against Duke, putting the loss up there with Kelly's defeats to Tulsa and Navy in 2010, or Northwestern in 2014. Going about fixing this edition of the Fighting Irish likely won't be easy. Against the Blue Devils — who had rushed for a combined 154 yards against Wake Forest and Northwest- ern during its 1-2 start — Notre Dame allowed 208 yards on the ground and 498 total, exposing a suspect defense once again. The Atlantic Coast Conference op- ponent got 121 rushing yards from senior running back Jela Duncan, a 24-of-32 passing performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones and a kick return touchdown from junior Shaun Wilson. The final blow was a 19-yard field goal by freshman kicker AJ Reed, giv- ing the Blue Devils their final advan- tage with 1:24 remaining in the game. "We found a little bit more out about ourselves today and what our personality has to be to win," ninth- year Duke head coach David Cut- cliffe said. "We did the things that we had to do to give ourselves a chance to win on the road, and then found a way to win it in the fourth quarter." Notre Dame wasn't without its standouts. Kizer threw for a career- high 381 yards on 22-of-37 passing to go along with two touchdowns, and St. Brown finished with 116 yards — his first-career 100-yard game — and hauled in the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. But it was a late-game interception by Kizer — projected by many as a first-round pick in next year 's NFL Draft — that set up Duke's go-ahead scoring drive. Backed up deep near his own end zone, Kizer was inter- cepted by Duke senior safety Deon- dre Singleton, giving the Blue Devils the ball at the Notre Dame 45. "We're always held to a higher stan- dard," said Kizer, who was among the players who drew criticism from Kelly after the game. "What Coach Kelly comes in and tells the media is one thing, but we understand that in order for to us win football games we're going to have to come out with a fire and a sense of urgency, the thing that's he's been preaching all week. "And this week we came out with a little more, but we have to execute what we do, and today we didn't." Notre Dame led 14-0 in the first quarter, and it looked like the Fight- ing Irish (1-3) would have their way with the Blue Devils. Kizer led a 75- yard drive on the team's opening pos- session, capping it with an eight-yard Sophomore running back Josh Adams recovered this fumble, but the Irish committed three turn- overs for the second straight contest. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA Wrong Direction Three-touchdown underdog Duke upsets Notre Dame, 38-35

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 3, 2016