NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 10th-ranked University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team collected its first ever conference win, taking down ACC foe Duke 27-13 on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium (10,097).
The Irish offense had a balanced attack led by sophomore running back Kyren Williams. In his first career start, Williams tallied 112 yards on the ground, 93 yards receiving and two rushing touchdowns. Williams became the first Irish player in the last 25 years to record 90+ yards rushing and receiving in the same game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After receiving the opening kick, Duke’s opening drive stalled in Irish territory after a turnover on downs. Sophomore safety Kyle Hamilton broke up Duke quarterback Chase Brice’s pass on fourth-and-two to force the turnover on downs.
With their second possession, the Blue Devils got on the board first after entering the red zone following a 55-yard catch-and-run from Eli Pancol to the Notre Dame eight-yard line. But the Irish defense held the Blue Devils to a 29-yard Charlie Ham field goal for a 3-0 lead with 7:01 left in the first quarter.
The Irish took the lead in the second quarter thanks to a fake punt to keep the eventual scoring drive alive, as Jay Bramblett scrambled for 14 yards to the Notre Dame 35-yard line when facing a fourth-and-eight.
Six plays later, Williams punched it in from the one-yard line to cap off the 12-play, 96-yard drive for a 7-3 lead — one they would not relinquish the rest of the afternoon. It marked Notre Dame’s longest scoring drive since last season’s 97-yard drive against Southern Cal.
Duke and Notre Dame then traded field goals to close out the first half. Sophomore Isaiah Foskey tallied his first-career sack on a third down to force the Blue Devils into the field goal at 3:20, moving the score to 7-6.
With just 1:16 remaining in the half and the ball on their own 16-yard line, quarterback Ian Book completed four passes and had a rush to get the Irish in field goal range. Senior Jonathan Dorerer then split the uprights from 48 yards as time expired for a 10-6 lead.
The Irish defense picked up the first turnover of the game early in the third quarter when Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah punched the ball loose from Duke wideout Jalon Calhoun and safety Shaun Crawford was there to recover the fumble.
On the ensuing drive, the Irish drove the field for their second touchdown of the afternoon. On the seventh play of the drive, Williams ripped off the longest rush of the day, going 26 yards to the endzone for his second score of the game.
Duke then put together a six-play, 39-yard touchdown drive that was finished off by a five-yard quarterback keeper from Brice. It snapped the Notre Dame defense’s streak of 104:31 between touchdowns allowed, having last surrendered a touchdown in the waning moments of the 2019 victory over Stanford.
Notre Dame’s offense stayed composed and answered with a 15-play scoring drive. The drive was finished off by an acrobatic Avery Davis catch from Book. Davis hauled in the 17-yard pass with the defender draped over him, and the Irish lead extended back to double digits at 24-13.
Doerr added a 34-yard field goal at 5:21 of the fourth for a final 27-13 scoreline.
- The first scoring drive for the Irish went 96 yards in 12 plays to take the lead in the second quarter. It was the longest drive by the Irish since last season’s 97-yard drive in the 30-27 home win over Southern Cal.
- Kyren Williams scored the first touchdown of the season for the Irish. It is the second straight year an Irish running back got the first score of the season after Jafar Smith tallied the first touchdown in 2019.
- In his first career start, Williams tallied 112 yards on the ground, 93 yards receiving and two rushing touchdowns. Williams became the first Irish player in the last 25 years to record 90+ yards rushing and receiving in the same game.
- Senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah forced the first turnovers of the season after breaking the ball loose from Duke’s Jalon Calhoun in the third quarter. Graduate student safety Shaun Crawford recovered the fumble for the Irish.
- Duke’s third quarter touchdown snapped the Notre Dame defenses streak of 104:31 between touchdowns allowed. The last touchdown the Irish allowed was in the waning moments of the 2019 victory over Stanford.