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 24 of 55 OCT. 3, 2016 25 DUKE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE The Blue Devils, who managed only 37 and 117 rushing yards in losses to Wake Forest and Northwestern, respectively, methodically and resourcefully found enough lanes for 92 rushing yards in the first half to build a 28-21 advantage at halftime. That lessened the load on redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones. In the second half the Blue Devils were even better on the ground with 116 rushing yards, 72 of them in the fourth quarter while rallying from a 35-28 deficit. A bevy of missed Irish tackles led to too many yards after contact. Like Michigan State the previous week, Duke was more effective horizontally with most of its runs, but played physical enough to get tough yards inside (while shedding would-be tackles). ADVANTAGE: Duke DUKE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE Jones completed 13 of 15 passes for 147 yards in the first half and connected on perfectly executed post and wheel routes for 25- and 32-yard touchdowns. The most consistent staple was about a half dozen slants repeatedly picking up eight to 12 yards. Almost all of Notre Dame's defensive highlights occurred in the third quarter, notably a third-and-six sack by junior linebacker Nyles Morgan (Notre Dame's first and only one of the year), and perfect coverage by freshman cornerback Donte Vaughn on deep coverage that resulted in an interception. Otherwise, Jones finished 24-of-32 passing for 290 yards (9.1 yards per at- tempt) with three scores. His "pop" pass while faking the option to his left resulted in a 64-yard touchdown by wide receiver Anthony Nash that helped knot the game at 35-35. ADVANTAGE: Duke NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. DUKE RUN DEFENSE The outside zone stretch for the Irish was effective in spots — sophomore Dexter Williams scored from 13 yards on it off the left side in the second quar- ter, and classmate Josh Adams did the same on a nine-yard tally in the third quarter — but not sustained consistently. Duke did well to limit the top tandem of Adams and senior Tarean Folston to 77 yards on 19 carries, or 4.0 yards per rush. Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer compensated some with 60 yards on 11 carries while keeping on several zone reads or scrambles. Notre Dame's best flurry on the ground came in the third quarter on its 83- yard drive to move ahead 35-28, with 53 yards coming on four carries. Other- wise the Irish managed only 100 rushing yards. ADVANTAGE: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. DUKE PASS DEFENSE Kizer's 381 passing yards were a career high while averaging an outstanding 10.3 yards per attempt. Nevertheless, there were an inordinate amount of misses — plus an interception that led to the winning score — to the point where head coach Brian Kelly indicated that maybe sophomore quarterback Brandon Wimbush's redshirt season this year might need to come to an end. Like the rest of his teammates, Kizer subconsciously might be pressing to do too much knowing that even 40 points might not be enough to achieve victory. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, Duke's Shaun Wilson returned the kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown. That proved to be, in our opinion, the game's turning point. The first quarter then ended with a wide right 42-yard field goal attempt by Notre Dame sophomore kicker Justin Yoon, whose pre- season struggles have carried into the season. Duke kicker AJ Reed punched through the game-winner from 19 yards with 1:24 remaining in the contest. ADVANTAGE: Duke THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS On the game's opening series, Notre Dame converted on third-and-six from its 29 with a short toss to sophomore wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown that ended up gaining 26 yards. The Blue Devils reciprocated with third-and- two and third-and-four conversions to knot the score at 14. Notre Dame made a clutch third-and-eight from midfield on a 20-yard catch by sophomore wide- out Miles Boykin en route to tying the score at 21. Notre Dame finished 5 of 12 (41.7 percent), while Duke was 6 of 14 (42.9 percent). Duke stopped a hurried and harried Irish offense on fourth-and-three from its 44 to seal the win. Give the Irish deserve credit for stopping Duke on fourth-and-one from their 25 in the second quarter and fourth-and-one from the Notre Dame 19 in the fourth quarter. ADVANTAGE: Even TURNOVERS Kizer's fumble at his own 25 with the score tied at 14 resulted in a Duke touchdown one play later. St. Brown's fumbled after a 31-yard catch that Duke recovered at its 40 occurred with the Irish trailing 28-21. It did not result in a Blue Devils score but stifled an Irish drive. Duke safety Deondre Singleton's interception at the Irish 45 with 5:11 left set up the game-winning field goal. Duke won the turnover battle 3-1, leading 10 Blue Devils points to Notre Dame's zero. ADVANTAGE: Duke ANALYSIS It seems odd that in only a three-point win by Duke we give Notre Dame the edge in only one of the seven categories. Noteworthy is that after the Irish built a quick 14-0 lead in the game's first 6:03, the Blue Devils outscored Notre Dame 38-21 over the final 53:57. Duke won the overall battle along the line of scrimmage, special teams and finishing plus-two in turnovers. They also were the hungrier, more energetic and better-coached unit. That compensated for far lesser recruiting rankings. ON PAPER REVISITED BY LOU SOMOGYI Junior linebacker Nyles Morgan notched Notre Dame's first sack of the sea- son, but Duke quarterback Daniel Jones finished with 290 yards and three scores through the air. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

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