Fighting Irish defeats Blue Devils in 2020 ACC opener

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have primarily been an independent when it comes to football. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of their games were canceled or postponed.

Instead of having games eliminated from their schedule, the Fighting Irish went to an Atlantic Coast Conference schedule for the 2020 season. No. 10 Notre Dame defeated the Duke Blue Devils, 27-13, on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book throws a pass against the Iowa State Cyclones
Ian Book throws a pass against the Iowa State Cyclones (Photo by the Associated Press/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

“We knew it was going to be a grind, but they hung in there,” Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly on a day when the school announced a four-year contract extension through the 2024 season and he improved to 9-2 in openers. “We played much better football in the second half.”

Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book went 19 of 31 for 263 yards. He also had one touchdown pass and one interception.

Kyren Williams had 19 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 93 yards.

“I’ve been getting a lot of reps,” Williams said. “It took a couple of drives for me to finally relax and breathe.”

Williams’ performance impressed his head coach.

“That was a pretty good opener for (Williams); there’s a lot he can build off of this,” Kelly said about the speedy Williams.

Blue Devils quarterback Chase Brice went 20 of 37 for 259 yards.

Deon Jackson had 15 carries for 52 yards. Eli Pancol had three receptions for 78 yards.

“The story of the day was they made more plays than we made,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. “They’re a good team. I think we have a really good football. We have to play better in the second half that we did on offense.”

Williams had two touchdowns for the Fighting Irish. Avery Davis also had a touchdown reception.

Jonathan Doerer also made two field goals.

Brice scored a touchdown for the Blue Devils. Charlie Ham also made two field goals.

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