Sept. 24, 2016
SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 — The University of Notre Dame football team fell to 1-3 on the season with a 38-35 loss to Duke (2-2) in front of a sold out Notre Dame Stadium crowd on Saturday afternoon. Duke’s A.J. Reed hit a 19-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining in the fourth quarter for the game-winning points and the Blue Devils then stopped the Irish on fourth down with 40 seconds remaining to seal the win.
It was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, as Notre Dame jumped out to a 14-0 lead only to see Duke answer back with three consecutive touchdowns, including a momentum-shifting 96-yard kickoff return. The Irish tied the game at 21-21 after a tough 13-yard touchdown run from sophomore Dexter Williams, but the Blue Devils quickly answered with a touchdown of their own to make the score 28-21 at halftime.
Both teams defenses temporarily gained control in the third quarter, with the Irish taking advantage of a couple defensive stops to take a 35-28 lead on a nine-yard touchdown run by Josh Adams and beautiful 12-yard touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Equanimeous St. Brown with 7:46 remaining in the game.
It did not take long for Duke to answer, however, as Anthony Nash broke a tackle and scampered down the sidelines three plays and 59 seconds later on a 64-yard pass play to tie the game at 38-38.
Notre Dame could not answer, as its next drive ended in a long interception from Kizer and Duke drove for the game-winning kick from Reed. A last minute drive for the Irish ended on downs at midfield and the Blue Devils earned their first victory in program history at Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame will move on to face Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J., next week, while Duke will host Virginia.
PLAY OF THE GAME:
There were plenty of impressive plays this afternoon, Dexter William’s 13-yard touchdown run was considered, as well as DeShone Kizer’s beautiful 44-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Stepherson in the first quarter. But one play stood above the rest:
Donte Vaughn’s Interception In The End Zone
— Notre Dame on NBC (@NDonNBC) September 24, 2016
Not only is it the first interception of Vaughn’s career, during the first significant playing time of his career, but it snuffed out a Duke scoring opportunity at a key point in the game. In the place of Duke taking a 31 or 35 to 28 lead late in the third quarter, Vaughn gave the ball back to the Irish offense.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
OFFENSE: Equanimeous St. Brown – career-best six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.
DEFENSE: Nyles Morgan – 10 tackles, seven solo, one tackle for loss and one sack.
STAT OF THE GAME:
1,032 yard of offense by both teams.
NOTE OF THE GAME:
DeShone Kizer’s Offensive Performance
QB DeShone Kizer eclipsed the 300-yard passing plateau for the second straight game, finishing with a career-high 381 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Kizer’s 441 yards of total offense were the eighth-most by a Notre Dame quarterback in program history.
Shaun Wilson’s 96-yard kick return for a touchdown.
Notre Dame had jumped out to a 14-0 led in the game on a Kizer 14-yard run and 44-yard strike to Stepherson. On the ensuing kickoff, Wilson broke through the Irish coverage and suddenly the Blue Devils had life and cut the lead to 14-7.