football Edit

BGI Staff Predictions: Notre Dame At Duke

No. 15-ranked Notre Dame (6-2) visits Duke (4-4) for the first time since 1961. The slated kickoff just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday will be telecast by the ACC Network.

The Blue Devils defeated the Fighting Irish 38-35 in the most recent meeting back in 2016. Notre Dame is favored by 7.5 points as of Friday morning. Here are predictions from's staff.


Notre Dame 28, Duke 24

Leading Duke to six bowl appearances in the last seven years at a school best known for its basketball has been an amazing accomplishment for Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe. Before Cutcliffe's program remodel, the last time Duke had even been to back-to-back bowl games was in the 1980s when Steve Spurrier was its coach.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been good in these spots. The last time his Irish lost to an unranked team on the road came on Oct. 8, 2016, in a 10-3 loss to North Carolina State in the Hurricane Matthew game


Notre Dame 31, Duke 23

I try to stay consistent with my picks from the magazine to the website but this one is really hard. After watching the offense struggle against a pretty poor Virginia Tech defense, I worry about their production against a much better Duke unit.

I still think the Irish will win this game because the Notre Dame defense has found its stride again and the Duke offense is not great — but 31 points might be wishful thinking. The offense continues to struggle but it will put up just enough points to win the game on the back of a strong defensive performance.

Duke won 38-35 at Notre Dame in 2016, the most recent meeting between the two schools in football.
Duke won 38-35 at Notre Dame in 2016, the most recent meeting between the two schools in football. (Associated Press)


Notre Dame 18, Duke 14

This is a low-scoring contest between two teams with top-20 defenses. Once again, Notre Dame struggles offensively as Duke is able to get consistent pressure on quarterback Ian Book. Once again, the Irish defense is able to keep them in the game and does a good job of containing dual-threat Blue Devils quarterback Quentin Harris, just as it did Virginia Tech's Quincy Patterson.

Notre Dame gets up double-digits early, but then has to hold on at the end of the game as Duke’s comeback falls just short.

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Notre Dame 27, Duke 13

Notre Dame’s defense has been very good most of this season and played well against Virginia Tech last week. I expect Clark Lea’s defense to have its way against a David Cutcliffe-ran offense that hasn’t been all that impressive in 2019.

I do have two concerns though: Notre Dame’s ability to run the football effectively and how fired up Duke will be for its biggest home game of the season. The Irish need to get its run game going, even down two starters on the offensive line, to take the load off quarterback Ian Book’s shoulders.

For our print magazine, I wrote that Notre Dame would cruise to a 48-14 blowout victory. I’m backing off that prediction. The Duke defense isn’t that bad, and I’ve lost some faith in the Irish offense. I still like the Irish by double digits though.


Notre Dame 31, Duke 16

I envision this game to be something like last year’s 31-21 victory at Northwestern in early November. Both are superb academic institutions who have significantly overachieved most of the the past decade under quality leadership ... but just don't have enough on the field to vanquish the Fighting Irish in football.

The Blue Devils are feisty on defense — which could bode well against an Irish offense that has been scuffling — but they lack playmaking firepower on offense to be a significant threat against Notre Dame’s defense, much like the Wildcats last year. As long as the Irish don’t give up a score to the Duke defense (a la Virginia Tech last week) or special teams (Northwestern setting up a TD last season late on a blocked punt), they should have control of the contest.

Notre Dame’s offense drove 95 and 87 yards on their last two series versus the Hokies, so hopefully there is some carryover effect, especially with both Jafar Armstrong and Tony Jones Jr. reportedly in good health at running back.


Talk about it inside Rockne’s Roundtable

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