Duke football tasked with tough test of Ian Book, Notre Dame in Week 1

The Duke football team has the challenge of trying to contain Notre Dame and quarterback Ian Book.

Notre Dame has been near the top of many college football polls for the past two seasons, and that’s been primarily due to the quarterback play of Ian Book.

David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils will have the challenge of being the first program to try and slow Book and the Fighting Irish down in the 2020 season as the Heisman Trophy dark horse ran all over Duke last season at Wallace Wade Stadium.

In what was a 38-7 beatdown the Irish handed the Blue Devils last season, Book completed 18-of-32 passes for only 181 yards, but he did throw four touchdown passes.

However, Duke was able to force the then-junior into two interceptions but was unable to contain the sneaky dual-threat on the ground as Book was the leading rusher for Notre Dame with 139 yards on 12 attempts.

If there is one aspect of the game that Duke can hang its hat on is that Book has many unproven wide receivers that he will be targeting in 2020 thanks to the departures of wide receivers Chase Claypool and Chris Finke along with tight end Cole Kmet.

The three pass catchers were the top three players on the team in receptions as Claypool led the way with 66 receptions for 1,037 yards and four touchdowns while Kmet reeled in 43 passes, accumulating 515 yards and four touchdowns, while Finke was not far behind with 41 receptions, 456 yards, and four touchdowns.

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Notre Dame’s top returning pass catcher is Javon McKinley, who only caught 11 passes last season for 268 yards but did find the end zone four times in those 11 receptions.

Braden Lenzy also had 11 receptions last season for the Fighting Irish with 254 yards and two touchdowns.

Head coach Brian Kelly also loses his leading running back from a season ago in Tony Jones Jr., who rushed 114 times for 857 yards and six touchdowns. Book was the Irish’s second-leading ball carrier with 546 rushing yards on 112 attempts and four touchdowns.

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However, Kelly may posses his X-Factor for the season in Jafar Armstrong, who’s had an injury-riddled career in South Bend but when healthy has been one of the best playmakers for Notre Dame.

Can Duke find a way to stop these weapons from Notre Dame?

Find out on Saturday, September 12 at 2:30pm EST on NBC.

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