Notre Dame drops to Duke 38-35

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – AJ Reed, who hadn’t kicked a field goal in three previous games, drilled a chip shot from 19 yards to give Duke a stunning 38-35 upset over Notre Dame Saturday.

After a sloppy first half, the Irish defense pitched a shutout for the first 23 minutes of the second half and they took the lead. Duke tied the game, then came through with the win in the final 2 minutes. 

Kizer hit Equanimeous St. Brown with a touchdown pass with 7:46 left in the game to give Notre Dame a 35-28 lead with 7:46 to play. 

It took Duke less than a minute – 59 seconds, to be exact – to tie the game at 35.  Jones rolled to his left, dumped a short pass to Anthony Nash. He ran through the tackle of Devin Studstill and went 64 yards for the touchdown.

The Blue Devils, which were 20-point underdogs coming into the game, battled Notre Dame to the wire.

The Irish trailed, 28-21, at halftime, but rallied once their defense came alive. Notre Dame had a pair of critical fourth-down stops inside its own 25.

The pivotal scoring drive, which ended in the St. Brown TD, covered 81 yards on nine plays.

Josh Adams tied the game at 28 on a nine-yard run. It capped a six-play, 83-yard drive.

With 8:04 left in the third quarter and the Irish trailing by seven, Notre Dame ended a drought.  Faced with a third-and-six near field, Jones was swarmed by the Irish defense. Nyles Morgan wrapped him up and got credit for their first sack of the season.

Duke dominated the first half on both sides of the ball, leading 28-21 at the break.

Blue Devils quarterback Jones was nearly flawless. The redshirt freshman completed 13 of 15 passes for 147 yards and two scores.

One of those TDs, a 25-yard hookup with Quay Chambers, came on the first play after Kizer fumbled by mishandling a snap.

Shaun Wilson had the big play of the half. Trailing 14-0, the Duke speedster returned a kickoff 96 yards.

Notre Dame scored on its first two possessions – an eight-yard run by Kizer and a 44-yard connection between Kizer and Kevin Stepherson. 

Wilson’s return, made possible by a whiffed tackle by Nick Coleman, changed the momentum. After a defensive stop, the Duke offense went to work and tied the game on an 18-yard burst by Jela Duncan.

Notre Dame backup running back Dexter Williams broke through three tackles to score from 13 yards, a TD that tied the game. Jones hit Nash for a 32-yard scoring strike right before intermission.

Notre Dame’s Julian Love (27) tries to tackle Duke’s T.J. Rahming (3) during the Notre Dame-Duke NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA