Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-1) is set to face the Duke Blue Devils (4-0) this Saturday, September 30, at 7:30 pm in Durham, NC. Notre Dame enters as the 5.5-point favorite, with an over/under set at 52 points.
Duke enters this game undefeated at 4-0, and no game has been remotely close. They have won each by at least 21 points while boasting one of the nation’s premier defenses, having not allowed more than 14 points to any opponent this season.
However, they will face a daunting opponent in Notre Dame, who have averaged 35.5 points per game so far through four matches – most recently, they narrowly lost to Ohio State by three points.
Duke’s defense has had an outstanding start this season. Only three other teams have allowed fewer points per game than the Blue Devils this year. Still, their impressive start will be tested against Notre Dame’s explosive offense led by Quarterback Sam Hartman, who has amassed 14 touchdowns without an interception so far this season – but makes pass defense is Duke’s forte.
If Duke can win this game, they will have arrived nationally and would be a darkhorse National Title contender with a very winnable ACC.
Last time they took to the field, the Fighting Irish faced off against the Ohio State Buckeyes and fell 17-14. Sam Hartman completed 17/25 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown en route to a quarterback rating of 140 without any interceptions. Audric Estime led Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s rushing efforts with 14 attempts for 70 yards (5.0 average per carry). Running 39 times and recording 176 yards at an average of 4.5 per carry; their 64 plays totalled 351 yards of offense. Notre Dame had 21 completions on 38 attempts, totalling 240 yards for an overall completion percentage of 55.3% while conceding 126 rushing yards over 27 attempts (4.7 yards per rush conceded).
The Fighting Irish rank 15th in the country regarding opponent scoring, allowing an average of 12.8 points per game and holding opponents for an average of 3.2 yards per rush on the ground and 111.2 yards in total per game this year. They have allowed 556 rushing yards through 5 contests during this campaign while giving up 747 passing yards, which ranks them 33rd overall within Division 1. Additionally, they allow an average of 260.6 yards per outing, which places them 7th nationwide, while surrendering two touchdowns via pass play and five touchdowns via ground game over time – two via air and five touchdowns outright this year alone!
Duke is 3-1 against the spread this year, receiving 5.5 points as home underdogs in a prime-time game. Coach Elko should keep his team motivated against Notre Dame as its defense has struggled recently in giving up two touchdowns per game to Central Michigan and Ohio State, including multiple rushing scores that will play into Duke’s run-based, ground-and-pound identity that keeps scores close while keeping the clock ticking down quickly.
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