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Predictions: Duke at Notre Dame

| Friday, September 23, 2016

Irish senior defensive lineman Isaac Rochell prepares for a play during Notre Dame’s 36-28 loss against Michigan State. Rochell, one of Notre Dame’s four captains, leads a defensive unit without a sack in 2016.Grace Tourville | The Observer
Irish senior defensive lineman Isaac Rochell prepares for a play during Notre Dame’s 36-28 loss against Michigan State. Rochell, one of Notre Dame’s four captains, leads a defensive unit without a sack in 2016.

Alex Carson, Assistant Managing Editor

Right now, I’ve got flashbacks to a dire four-year stretch in South Bend. They’re flashbacks to 2008, when the Irish lost to Syracuse, and 2009, which saw a defeat at the hands of UConn. Flashbacks to Brian Kelly’s first two years, which saw losses to Tulsa and South Florida. Tack on that 2014 Northwestern loss, and you’ve got a catalog full of humiliating losses suffered in the last several years.

Saturday is a perfect opportunity for the Blue Devils to join that list, visiting the week after Notre Dame’s playoff hopes died.

But at the end of the day, DeShone Kizer does just enough to paper over the defense’s problems and avoid a new addition to the aforementioned list of embarrassing home defeats.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Duke 31

Zach Klonsinski, Assistant Managing Editor

Quite frankly, Duke shouldn’t give Notre Dame any trouble Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.

DeShone Kizer and the Notre Dame offense will have a field day picking apart a Duke secondary that surrendered touchdown passes of 26, 44 and 58 yards against Northwestern last week. The Irish running attack should be able to gather momentum as well: Wake Forest rattled off three touchdowns on the ground in the Demon Deacons’ victory two weeks ago.

The problems with Notre Dame’s defense will again be masked against an inept offense, as the Irish shut down Nevada in between streaky — at best — performances against Texas and Michigan State. Expect Duke to still put up points before the Irish scout-team defense hits the field though.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 59, Duke 24

Marek Mazurek, Sports Editor

With a trip to the College Football Playoff not an option, the rest of this season is about pride for the Irish. With Duke coming to town, Notre Dame will restore a little bit of that pride Saturday.

Expect Notre Dame to run the ball a lot against a weak Blue Devil front seven. We’re talking 100-yard games from both Josh Adams and Tarean Folston.

After losses to Northwestern and Wake Forest, Duke just isn’t good enough to exploit the many gaps in the Irish defense, no matter how many times redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones throws the football.

DeShone Kizer will do what he needs to, which shouldn’t be much, and Notre Dame will get a win at home to placate the more vocal members of the fanbase.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 28, Duke 13

Ben Padanilam, Associate Sports Editor

The loss to Michigan State sent Notre Dame to its first 1-2 start since 2010.

But it won’t be starting 1-3.

There weren’t many positives in last Saturday’s loss, but a game against a poor Duke squad can be just the medicine the doctor ordered after a loss, just as was the case with Nevada.

The Irish should find better success on the ground than the 57 yards they had last week, and DeShone Kizer will be able to have his way with this Duke secondary when needed after finding his groove late against the Spartans. Oh, and the defense shouldn’t be challenged much, as Duke has just 27 points total in its last two contests.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Duke 24

Renee Griffin, Sports Writer

Just like they did against Nevada following the loss at Texas, the Irish will bounce back against a mediocre team after Saturday’s defeat. The Notre Dame defense is likely to look much better than it did last week (could it look worse?) and a solid run game will probably return to the offense that sorely needed it when the Spartans came to town. DeShone Kizer should shine.

The Blue Devils’ failures against Wake Forest and Northwestern do not inspire confidence and surely make them seem incapable of knocking the Irish down even further.

Notre Dame is not a top team. It will not qualify for the College Football Playoff. But it will beat Duke on Saturday to bring its record to 2-2, for what that’s worth.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Duke 12

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