Game day is almost here, and the Notre Dame football team is set to kick off the 2020 season with a home contest against the Duke Blue Devils. The Irish Breakdown staff has broken down this matchup, and now it's time to make our predictions.
Bryan Driskell, Publisher
Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Duke 13
Notre Dame has talented advantages all over the field, but I won't be surprised if the Irish struggle a bit out of the gate due to the erratic offseason that ND and every other program has gone through.
Once the Irish work out the kinks I expect them to roll. Notre Dame pounded Duke last season, and they didn't really play that great. The Irish simply out-talented and out-hit Duke, and if this team is going to be as good as we all think, they should physically beat up Duke once against.
I expect both lines to exert their will on the Blue Devils, and the Irish pull away in the second half for the impressive victory.
Steve Beuerlein, Football Analyst
Prediction: Notre Dame 43, Duke 24
No way Duke can match up physically against the Irish on either side of the ball but Chase Brice, as a duel threat, makes the whole offense better for Duke and keeps them in the game for 3 quarters. He is a legitimate pro prospect and will do great under David Cutcliffe.
Vince DeDario, Football Analyst
Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Duke 10
This is the hardest prediction I’ve had to do over the years I have been doing this because we haven’t seen this team at all during fall camp. We have heard about certain guys doing well and others who might be struggling but how are they all playing together? What does that look like? We will find a lot out about this team on Saturday but there will undoubtedly be more questions after the final whistle blows.
I do think the Irish our man the Blue Devils pretty much across the board but don’t count out David Cutcliffe and his offensive mind. I just don’t think he has the horses yet to keep up with Notre Dame. This one will be close early but Notre Dame pulls ahead in the second half for the final margin of victory.
Nathan Erbach, Recruiting Analyst
Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Duke 17
Notre Dame has made a habit of opening up their season with a bang in recent years, and that is exactly what I expect to happen again in this interesting 2020 season. While I think Duke will be improved with Clemson transfer Chase Brice at the helm and senior running back Deon Jackson returning, the Notre Dame offense will prove to be too strong and the Irish win in convincing fashion.
One thing I’m watching is the Notre Dame veteran offensive line against the Duke talented defensive front. Victor Dimukeje is one of the best pass rushers the Irish will see all season, which will prove to be a great early test for an offensive line unit that needs to improve off of last season.
Ryan Palmeri, IB Contributor
Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Duke 10
Things will start slow as Notre Dame tries to mesh and shake the rust off. Despite the expected slow start, scoring won't be an issue. Going back to 2015, Notre Dame has scored at least 30+ points four out of five times in their first game.
Strong line play on both sides of the ball and a large talent gap will keep Duke in check most of the afternoon. It will look a lot like it did last season as Duke struggles to slow Notre Dame down and find much success on offense.
Brian Smith, IB Contributor
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Duke 17
Irish rushing attack gets off to fast start. A balanced attack, led by sophomore Kyren Williams, rushes for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
Duke's defensive front seven succumbs to Notre Dame’s power and size, and that opens up the down field passing game. Tommy Tremble and Braden Lenny catch touchdown passes.
The Irish defense plays solid, giving up 270 yards of offense and recording four sacks.
Genna Rose, IB Contributor
Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Duke 10
Based on last season's 38-7 loss against the Irish, and looking at Duke's talent on both sides of the ball, I don't think anyone would argue that the Blue Devils have a solid shot at winning Saturday's game. Duke revamped its offense, adding QB Chase Brice from Clemson, who has some talent to play with in RB Deon Jackson, WR Jalon Calhoun, and TE Noah Gray.
However, facing an experienced QB like Ian Book guided by the hand of offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, who holds the career record for passing completion percentage at Notre Dame, and a solid defensive line makes for an obtainable W for the Irish.
JP Scott, IB Contributor
Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Duke 10
Notre Dame’s defense should be elite, and they are facing a Duke offense without a lot of experience at the skill positions. The Blue Devils are going to have a tough time scoring.
Offensively, Notre Dame should be able to control the tempo with a consistent rushing attack and efficient passing game, all behind what should be another great offensive line.
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