Saturday evening on the college gridiron and a team from the Independent ranks will battle a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference as the Nore Dame Fighting Irish tangle with the Duke Blue Devils. This contest has a start time of 7:30 pm ET and will take place at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. These teams last met back in 2016 and Duke won that game by a score of 38-35 on the road.
The Fighting Irish have been eliminated from consideration for the NCAA playoffs, but they would still like to win out and grab a bowl on New Year's Day. They had just lost at Michigan by a score of 45-14 and Nore Dame trailed Virginia Tech late at home before Ian Book drove them down for the winning TD. It would have been an embarrassing loss, but they were able to pull out the win and now Notre Dame has its sights set on taking down another ACC team. Notre Dame is now 3-0 against ACC teams this year. Can they move to a perfect 4-0 against the Conference? We shall see.
The Duke Blue Devils got off to a 3-1 start, but they have since gone 1-3 to fall to 4-4 on the year. Their lone win the last four games was against Georgia Tech, which is just 2-6 on the year, including 1-4 in the ACC. The offense has sputtered of late as Duke has scored a total of 31 points in their last two games, but both games were on the road and they have averaged 38.7 ppg here at home for the year. Can the duke offense get back on track against a tough Notre Dame defense? I guess you will just have to check back to find out.
Notre Dame Squeezes Past Virginia TechThe Notre Dame Irish are apart of the ACC in basketball, but not football. Still, they play a few games against that conference every year on the gridiron and Notre Dame has done well against the ACC this year. Notre Dame was in a dogfight in their last game as they needed a late TD to beat Virginia Tech at home by a score of 21-20. That win pushed the Irish to 6-2 on the year overall and 3-0 against the ACC. The troubling part for the Irish is that in the last two weeks they lost by 31 to Michigan and then beat the Hokies at home by just one point, despite being 17.5 point favorites in this contest. I felt the line was too high last week and it was.
Some felt that the Irish would bounce back in a big way after getting crushed by Michigan, but I felt that their bubble was burst as far as reaching the NCAA playoffs and that would have them a bit flat. That is exactly what happened. The Irish actually dominated the game against the Hokies as they outgained them 447 to 240, but two INTs by Ian Book and a lost fumble at the goal line, which was returned 98 yards for a TD keep Va Tech in the game all day long. Book did redeem himself by rushing for the game-winning TD with 29 seconds left in the game. He has thrown for 1833 yards with 17 TDs and just four INTs on the year while rushing for 272 yards and four TDs. Book will not have an easy time in this one against a good Duke defense that is 42nd against the pass.
The Notre Dame defense was shredded for 426 yards against USC a few weeks ago and then by 447 yards against the Wolverines two weeks ago, but they bounced back against the Hokies, Holding them to just 240 yards of total offense. The Irish have struggled against the run all year as they are 71st in the nation in that category, but they will be facing a Duke squad that is just 66th in rush. The strength of the Irish defense is their pass defense, which is 15th in the nation, allowing just 180.5 ypg through the air so far. They allowed Virginia Tech just 139 yards through the air on just nine-of-28 passing and the Irish will look to keep it going against a Duke passing game that is 103rd in the nation. This could be a very good matchup for a solid Notre Dame defense.
Devils Look To Get Their Offense Back On TrackThe Duke Blue Devils have gone 4-4 on the year overall and just 1-3 in their last four games. Their lone win over that stretch was against Georgia Tech, who is just 1-4 in ACC play. The Blue Devils come in having lost their last two games in a row and they have scored a total of 31 points in those games. That is after notching at least 41 points in four of their previous five games. We do note that their last two games were on the road and the Blue Devils have averaged 38.7 ppg in their three home games this far. Can they get their offense back on track against a tough Notre Dame defense? We shall see.
The Blue Devils will be taking on the toughest defense they have faced since their opener against Alabama and they scored just three points in that game. Duke is off a 20-17 loss at North Carolina and they had just 329 yards of total offense in the contest. Quentin Harris threw for 229 yards with a TD and an INT in the loss. He now has three TDs and five INTs in his last four games after tossing 10 TDs and no INTs in his previous three games. Harris will need to get back to the latter if he hopes to lead his team to the upset. Duke is 103rd in passing and the Irish are 15th against the pass, so it may not be an easy go of it for Harris in this one.
"He stands for everything that Duke football is."@DavidCutcliffe sits down with @qharris18 to talk everything from how he became a quarterback to his journey to Duke and more 😈 #GoDuke pic.twitter.com/T47LNArE9w— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) November 1, 2019
The Blue Devils may have to rely on their defense to win this one and that is not out of the question as the Notre Dame offense has been inconsistent all year. The Irish are 41st in passing and Duke is 42nd against the pass, so that is a wash. The run defense for the Blue Devils has been solid at 51st in the land and they have an edge there against a Notre Dame running game that is 71st in the nation. If the Blue Devils can stop the run then they could force Book into some mistakes, which he made last week.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Notre Dame is:
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass
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