Duke up­sets Notre Dame on late FG

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Tom Coyne

AJ Reed kicked a field goal with 1:27 re­main­ing Satur­day to lift Duke to a 38-35 vic­tory over Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Duke coach David Cut­cliffe need not have wor­ried about AJ Reed’s con­fi­dence.

Af­ter the fresh­man missed his first three col­lege field goal at­tempts, Cut­cliffe talked this week about be­ing con­cerned about Reed’s body lan­guage af­ter his miss against North­west­ern last week. He opted against try­ing for a field goal with the score tied at 28 early in the fourth quar­ter, ex­plain­ing af­ter­ward he didn’t think a field goal would be enough.

But fourth-and-goal with the ball on the 1-yard line, Notre Dame (1-3) with no time­outs and 1:27 on the clock, he said he didn’t hes­i­tate to turn to Reed.

“That unit there, they be­lieve in him and he’s got a lot of tal­ent. I know when it came down there at the end — the field goal — there was no doubt in my mind he was go­ing to make it,” he said.

Reed said he knew his team­mates were be­hind him.

“They were all telling me that they had my back and that they knew I was go­ing to get it done for them,” he said.

The kick was a dev­as­tat­ing sec­ond-straight home loss for Notre Dame, which started the sea­son ranked No. 10 with hopes for vy­ing for a play­off spot. Coach Brian Kelly said af­ter­ward that nearly ev­ery po­si­tion will be up for grabs and said he might con­sider play­ing quar­ter­back Bran­don Wimbush, who he had hoped to red­shirt.

“I told our guys es­sen­tially that we’re go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion. We’re not go­ing to con­tinue to go in this di­rec­tion. We’ll have to re-eval­u­ate what we’re do­ing, who we’re do­ing it with, and how we’re do­ing it,” he said.

Daniel Jones threw for three touch­downs, in­clud­ing a 64-yard scor­ing pass to West Ch­ester Rustin grad An­thony Nash mid­way through the fourth quar­ter to tie the score as Duke (2-2) beat the Ir­ish for just the sec­ond time in five tries. The first win was in their first meet­ing, a 9-7 vic­tory in Durham, North Carolina, in 1958. Jones was 24 of 32 pass­ing for 290 yards and Duke rushed for 208 yards.

“I think we were, as a team, ex­e­cut­ing at such a high level. We weren’t per­fect by any stretch, but over­all, we were ex­e­cut­ing more con­sis­tently than we had been,” Jones said.

Shaun Wil­son re­turned a kick­off 96 yards for a score to spark the Blue Devils af­ter Notre Dame, which had strug­gled with big deficits in two ear­lier losses , jumped to a 14-0 lead.

The Ir­ish de­fense con­tin­ued to strug­gle, giv­ing up 30 or more points against Power Five teams for the sev­enth time in their last nine games. The stu­dent sec­tion chanted “Fire VanGorder,” re­fer­ring to de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Brian VanGorder.

Kelly, who talked about his frus­tra­tion with the play of the de­fense a week ear­lier, said the coach­ing of the de­fense is one of the few ar­eas he wasn’t dis­ap­pointed in. He said Duke was grit­tier and more deter­mined than the Ir­ish.


Duke wide re­ceiver and West Ch­ester Rustin grad­u­ate An­thony Nash heads down the side­line on a touch­down pass from quar­ter­back Daniel Jones against Notre Dame on Satur­day.

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