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Notre Dame QB Ian Book (12) is chased by Duke defenders Michael Carter II (26) and Koby Quansah (49) during ND's road victory, Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Bottom Line

The team that Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly envisioned back in August — one that ruled the running game on both sides of the ball — showed up Saturday night at Duke ... with a twist.

A big part of ND’s rushing resurgence in a 38-7 Irish victory was a forgotten element of the Notre Dame offense that had been so successful with QB Everett Golson, Malik Zaire, DeShone Kizer and Brandon Wimbush — designed quarterback runs.

Saturday night, current Irish QB took his turn at the retro approach and may have reinvented himself in the process with a career-high 139 rushing yards to go along with 181 and four touchdowns through the air against the Blue Devils (4-5).

Big Picture

CFP No. 15 Notre Dame (7-2) keeps a possible Cotton Bowl bid in play and is probably one win away from locking down a Camping World Bowl berth as an alternative if the Irish can’t climb high enough in the College Football Playoff rankings to land in the New Year’s Six.

Questions Answered

Notre Dame’s Michigan hangover didn’t extend to a third week. … Book showed poise and another dimension in his game, even though his pass-efficiency rating (132.5) was tamped down by two interceptions. … The Irish defense regression against the run against Michigan is looking more like an outlier than a trend.

Questions Lingering

Is running back Jafar Armstrong going to become a more prominent part of the offense, as was expected before an early-season injury? Can the new right side of the offensive line sustain its respectable start?

My Game Balls Go To

Offense: Chris Finke: The grad senior wide receiver came alive with five catches for 49 yards and two TDs and a 46-yard punt return that set up another score.

Defense: Rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had six tackles, with 1.5 tacklea for loss and two pass breakups, to help set the tone with the Irish defense forcing three three-and-outs on Duke’s first four possessions. The Blue Devils were outrushed 288-95 and outgained 469-197.

The Road Ahead

The Irish host 24th-ranked Navy (7-1) next Saturday. The Mids had an open date this Saturday.

ehansen@sbtinfo.com

Twitter: @EHansenNDI

(10) comments

PolishPrince

Here is my instant observation. Dukes quality wins have come at the hands of these power houses. North Carolina A&T,Middle Tennessee, Virginia Tech ,and Georgia Tech. Ian Book threw for 181 yards and 2 interceptions. He was the leading rusher for the Irish. The Duke football team is lacking in size speed and depth. If you want this to sound like some quality win ,go ahead and make your self feel good. If I'm Phil Jurkovec I don't play clean up for coach Kelly anymore. I save a redshirt year and go play for a coach that can help and not destroy my natural ability.

OverAll

I wouldn’t either if I were him. First good offensive game from this team and most of us couldn’t even see it. But I’m sure it will be trumpeted as “the next step” or whatever other BS. Did anyone see the LSU game? Does anyone want to tell me with a straight face that we are going to be at that level within a year or two? You are either looking at a completely different team than I am or you just don’t know football. That’s all there is to it. This isn’t a championship program and it’s not about to be one, either. How about some honesty? #FireKelly

jim masterson

Wow. Don't sugar coat it PP & OA.

ND is not able to recruit the kids that are going to 'bama, LSU, Clemson. That is the reality. ND has a converted WR, as their #1 running back, and a walk on starting in the slot. Neither one would be if they were at the above schools or OSU, Clemson etc. I love the Irish, sub-alumni, but I have come to expect a certain ceiling.

OverAll

Jim, you’re absolutely right... so, they (Kelly /Swarbick) should stop pretending like they’re trying to compete with them. Because they’re not. They just enjoy the money that comes with pretending to. no reason to sugarcoat it, there’s already an entire industry built up around doing just that. As far as the personnel issues, those are 100% on the coaching staff. Why don’t we have good personnel at our skill positions? Why is the low-ceiling QB starting week after week? Why ISN’T Jurkovec ready? Why does Chip Long still have a job? Why are we still having the exact same conversations as we had after the Bama game seven years later? Like you, I know we don’t have the talent to compete with these programs and will probably never be able to recruit at that level. But we are now at the point where I know for sure that a PJ Fleck or another program builder could do a lot better than Kelly, and maybe even truly compete for a championship once in a while. Kelly is a mediocre coach in charge of a mediocre program and that’s all we will ever be with him. Once someone has been doing a job for 10 years, you basically know what they can do, and we know what he can do. And it’s not good enough. #FireKelly

NDTodd98

OA and PP, you need to calm down. Notre Dame has always stood for excellence and championships, and nothing is changing that. If BK can't deliver soon, we need to move on. But quit spewing hate in the meantime.

camerdf

Excellence and championships? What have you been smoking? They represent neither, and haven't for a few decades. That pos Jenkins is happy collecting NBC's money and that of the clowns that fill the stadium every week hoping for a miracle to happen and a good team shows up. Jenkins and Swarbrick are no Hesburgh and Krause, not by a long shot.

PolishPrince

It's not hate I'm spewing it's reality. I'm nor excited I see things as they are not what I want them to be. That Duke team we played last night hung 45 big ones on Virginia Tech how does that compare to our performance last week. It's okay to be a mid level team .Nine or ten wins a season is great , many schools would love to have a program that successful. That's what the Notre Dame football program is. Facts don't lie. They are a good team and Kelly is a good coach. The question is could they be a better team with a better coach.

Ludwig von Football

You need two things to win a national championship: 1) Talent and depth. 2) Excellent coaching.

Notre Dame will never seriously compete for a national championship until they lower their ridiculous academic standards. Notre Dame will never attract a great coach because of the difficulty of recruiting at ND. Notre Dame was once a dream job for many coaches. Now it's a job that established & winning coaches don't want to touch with a ten foot pole.

OverAll

Learn the difference between frustration and hatred... and my contention is, he can’t and won’t “deliver”. It’s not happening. Anyone - including Swarbick - can see this isn’t a championship program and isn’t a year or two away from being one, either. Not with this coach. And they’re fine with that. That’s what I have a problem with.

Bucky C

Ludwig, I see why you think the academic standards are "ridiculous."

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