Staff Predictions: Duke
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, November 8, 2019
Charlotte Edmonds — Managing Editor
At this point I feel like this prediction is a little bit like Notre Dame’s postseason outlook — pointless. While I personally don’t think Notre Dame’s season is over, my predictions have been so painfully off that I’m solidly out of the competition to win this thing. That said, I hope I’m wrong once again because I don’t have a good feeling about Saturday’s game. Do I think Notre Dame will lose to Duke? No. Do I think they’ll struggle to put on a dominant performance that’s likely expected of them? Absolutely.
I’ve always felt that Notre Dame lacked that killer instinct to throttle teams, and then New Mexico and Bowling Green happened, and I started to believe. But oh, how I was fooled. Virginia Tech proved once again that this team is content allowing their opponent to stick around and just barely pull out the win. Notre Dame will take care of business in Durham, North Carolina, but they won’t win any style points doing it and it will likely be far closer than it should be. But go ahead, prove me wrong once again, I beg of you.
FINAL: Notre Dame 31, Duke 24
Connor Mulvena — Sports Editor
I still can’t believe the take away from last week’s game seems to be how impressive the offense’s last drive for the win was. Really? I’m not saying it wasn’t a good drive, because it was. But what I thought when I saw that drive was that, to my memory, that is the first time I’ve seen this offense complete an in-game, two-minute drill in a high pressure situation as of late. I think the drive certainly shows that this offense can perhaps be capable in certain scenarios, but let’s not pretend this is some sort of momentum boost for the rest of the season.
Hayden Adams — Associate Sports Editor
Virginia Tech, a team the Irish scraped by against by the skin of their teeth, got obliterated by Duke 45-10. However, the Blue Devils themselves were demolished 48-14 by a Virginia team Notre Dame defeated 35-20. That said, the results should be taken with a grain of salt, as the ACC Coastal is the most chaotic division in the Power 5. Even so, this game comes down — as it likely will for the rest of the season — to the Irish offense stepping up. Relying on the defense to hold Duke to just few enough points won’t cut it against a well-coached team hosting Notre Dame for the first time since 1961. Still, Ian Book’s game-winning drive against Virginia Tech bodes well for how the Irish offense will come back together and perform in the face of further adversity. The loss of Robert Hainsey in addition to Tommy Kraemer on the O-line hurts, but the Irish should still be able to at least out-talent the Blue Devils with an adrenaline shot of confidence after beating Virginia Tech.
FINAL: Notre Dame 24, Duke 20
Jack Concannon — Sports Writer
The Irish pulled out a thrilling win against Virginia Tech that still put some of the teams flaws on display. The injuries along the offensive line are massively important, but I still believe in this Irish team to move the ball against Duke the same way they did against Virginia Tech. The Irish outgained the Hokies 442 to 240, but were almost done in by uncharacteristic turnovers in Hokie territory. If the Irish can cut down on the turnovers, they will find ways to score against a Blue Devil team that has given up 20 points or more in four-straight games against lowly ACC foes. The Irish have not lost to an unranked team since 2016, and with the Michigan let down behind them and the team playing with a bit of swagger after putting together a game winning drive, expect the Irish to find a way in Durham.