Game Day Thread: Notre Dame vs. Duke
Notre Dame and Duke are set to kick off at 2:30 PM. It will be the first game of the season for both teams, and it's Notre Dame's first ever game as a full-time member in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
So yes, Irish fans, that means today Notre Dame begins a question for a conference championship.
This is where you will get all the latest updates and analysis of the game. Throughout the game I will update this article to include any notes, injury updates and analysis of the game as it happens.
5:58 PM - Brian Kelly said after the game that Kyle Hamilton had a sprained ankle, which is why he didn't return to the game.
5:56 PM - It was ugly, but Notre Dame starts the season off with a 27-13 victory over Duke.
5:20 PM - Notre Dame scores on a TD pass from Book to Avery Davis. It was a contested catch but Book gave his WR a chance and Davis made a great play. The play was set up by a great blitz pick up from Kyren Williams that gave Book time to step into the throw.
5:05 PM - Duke turns the short field into a touchdown, with QB Chase Brice rushing in from 2 yards out to make it a 17-13 game.
5:01 PM - Uninspiring and conservative drive by the offense backed up, which gave Duke great field position. Tyree was tackled for a 2-yard loss, Book hit a crossing route for three yards on second down and Rees called a QB draw on third-and-9 that didn't come close to the first down. Duke begins its drive at the Irish 39-yard line.
4:56 PM - Defense forces a four-play punt. After a Crawford penalty gave Duke a first down, that followed a pressure from Ademilola, the Irish buckled down and forced a punt. LB Bo Bauer and DT Jacob Lacey had a 2nd-and-5 run stuff to force a 3rd-and-5. On third-down, DE Daelin Hayes dropped underneath a quick throw and forced the QB to throw the ball away, and forcing a Duke punt.
4:51 PM - Williams goes 26 yards for a touchdown on 4th-and-1. LT Liam Eichenberg had a great block on the edge, Tremble had a tremendous block on a linebacker and Javon McKinley had a tremendous downfield block. Williams read it perfectly, bounced outside and took into the end zone.
4:42 PM - Duke completes a third-down pass but LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah forced a fumble from behind and it was recovered by Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. Hamilton got rolled up on during the play and limped off the field.
4:37 PM - Ben Skowronek is out for the game.
4:36 PM - Notre Dame gets one first down to start the second half but the drive stalls after a Javon McKinley catch for 11 yards is negated by an offensive pass interference penalty on Tremble. Book's pass to Williams was incomplete on the next throw. I would have liked to see Book take the outside one-on-one with McKinley on that throw, but he was locked in on Williams.
FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS - Offense
** Book looks a lot like he did early on last season. Rushing through his reads, forcing balls into coverage, not getting rid of the ball on time and not going through his progressions. Needs to do a better job managing the pocket, sliding or climbing and letting it loose.
** The offensive is having a rough first half. Notre Dame has benefitted from screens and trick plays to get about half of its yards. There is no room to run, the line is catching or getting knocked back and the tackles are not winning their matchup against the talented Duke pass catchers.
** The wide receivers have had some issues getting separation at times, especially on the outside. Keys was WIDE OPEN on a drag route and he's gotten some separation, but Book didn't see him. Joe Wilkins Jr. had two clutch plays on the final drive as a replacement for Skowronek.
** Overall the play of the offense in the first half was sloppy. Notre Dame needs to come out in the second half and take some shots down the field. Duke is loading the box and pinning their ears back, they aren't afraid of Notre Dame beating them over the top, which is why the two screens worked so well. They need a big play or two down the field.
** Freshman Chris Tyree had just one touch in the first half. Would have been interesting to see what he could have done on the tunnel screen that Williams took for 75 yards. Doubt Tyree gets caught. That's the kind of personnel decision that an OC needs to make.
** The running backs really struggled in the first half with pass protections.
FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS - Defense
** The defensive line struggled to get movement early on, but they settled in and did a better job getting penetration as the half went on. Kurt Hinish was especially good at getting a push in the first half.
** On the edge, Ade Ogundeji has been solid thus far. He had a great run stop on a second and goal run that helped result in a field goal instead of a score. Sophomore Isaiah Foskey had an outstanding first half. He got a key red zone sack that forced a field goal, and he had two other hits on the quarterback.
** The Buck linebackers - Marist Liufau and Shayne Simon - had erratic run fits in the first half.
** Cornerbacks Nick McCloud and TaRiq Bracy both had excellent first halfs. McCloud gave up a back shoulder early, but he was locked down on the Duke receivers after that. Bracy had excellent downfield coverage.
** Sophomore safety Kyle Hamilton had a great first half, making plays in space, making plays on the ball and he had a pressure on a third-down blitz. Safety Shaun Crawford got beat multiple times in the pass game and had two early missed tackles.
4:11 PM - Notre Dame takes a 10-6 lead into halftime after Jonathan Doerer drills a 48-yard field goal as the half expires. Very sloppy first half for the Irish, especially on offense. Special teams, however, have been excellent.
4:03 PM - Grad transfer receiver Ben Skowronek is on the sidelines getting looked at. He limped off the field after looking like he pulled a hamstring.
3:58 PM - A 75-yard catch and run by Williams on a well-designed tunnel screen is negated by an Ian Book interception on the next play. Book locked in on Tremble and threw the cross despite a defender standing in the throwing lane. The ball was tipped and picked off in the end zone.
3:52 PM - Duke moves the ball all the way down inside the 5-yard line against the Irish but were held to a field goal thanks to a great 2nd-and-goal play by Ade Ogundeji and a sack by Foskey.
Shaun Crawford was beat twice on the series, first for a 25-yard gain and then for a 16-yard gain to move Duke down the field. A DJ Brown holding penalty gave Duke a first-and-goal, but the defense tightened up.
3:45 PM - Notre Dame announced during the first quarter that it had extended head coach Brian Kelly through the 2024 season. The release can be read HERE.
3:30 PM - Notre Dame used a fake punt to move the chains, which finally sparked the offense. Book hit freshman TE Michael Mayer between two defenders on a deep out cut for 16 yards. An 11-yard gain by Williams on a counter was followed by a well-designed trick play by OC Tommy Rees. They faked a reverse and threw a screen to Jafar Armstrong on the same the reverse came from, and it went for 20 yards to set up a first and goal. Williams scored two plays later.
Book settled down later in the drive, but prior to the fake punt he was late with reads and not stepping into throws. On a miss to Williams he did not see Lawrence Keys III running wide open on a drag route that might have gone for a long touchdown.
3:15 PM - Irish defense forces another punt, this time on a three-and-out. Gave up a 6-yard completion on 3rd-and-8. Defense is going with a 3-3-5 type of nickel package and thus far it's not getting much pressure despite often bringing 5-6 guys on blitzes.
3:11 PM - Another three-and-out by the Irish offense.
3:08 PM - Defense forces a punt after five plays thanks to a holding penalty and a great second down pass rush from sophomore Isaiah Foskey, who now has two hits on the quarterback in the first quarter.
2:59 PM - Another three-and-out by the Irish offense. Two runs by Williams result in six yards, but Tremble drops a pass on third down that likely would have resulted in him picking up a big gain. Very sloppy start for the Irish offense. No movement in the run game, drops, QB not progressing well through reads.
2:55 PM - Duke takes a 3-0 lead after a 10-play, 79-yard drive. Two missed tackles by Shaun Crawford, poor coverage on a third-down mesh concept and a missed sack opportunity fueled the drive. The poor coverage resulted in Duke racking up a 55-yard gain on third down.
2:48 PM - Irish offense goes three-and-out on series one. Book didn't go through his progressions at all. Had Tommy Tremble on a cross or a check slide to Kyren Williams on the second down sack. Needs to dump it off on second down and let them get positive yards. Instead takes a driving killing sack.
OL gave up a push on both second and third down.
2:44 PM - Duke gets good movement in the run game on series one, but safety Kyle Hamilton makes three straight plays - along with cornerback TaRiq Bracy - to force a turnover on downs. Hamilton broke up a 4th-and-2 pass to end the drive.
2:39 PM - Duke won the toss and chose to receive. Notre Dame will start the season on defense.
2:24 PM - Lenzy is out on the field and in uniform, but I did not see him take any reps during pre-game.
2:15 PM - Freshman Xavier Watts has been working in as the No. 2 at X receiver. I have yet to see Braden Lenzy take a rep during the team period. In fact, I can't see Lenzy out on the field right now.
2:11 PM - Marist Liufau is working with the first team defense at Buck linebacker during pregame. Shayne Simon was with the second team at Buck.
2:09 PM - Grad transfer Isaiah Pryor began working out at safety during pregame but he's now working with the linebackers and rovers.
2:02 PM - Teams are going through stretch.
1:48 PM - The first punt returner in pre-game has been junior WR Lawrence Keys III. The first two kick returners to field kicks were RB Jafar Armstrong and RB Chris Tyree. Armstrong is showing a nice burst in pre-game. Looks more like the 2018 version of himself athletically.
1:11 PM - Only Notre Dame players not expected to play today are WR Kevin Austin and DE NaNa Osafo-Mensah.
At the bottom in the comments section is where you can interact and engage with me and other Notre Dame fans that are watching the game.
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