Duke football: Preview, predictions for Blue Devils vs. Fighting Irish

The Duke football team is in South Bend, Indiana to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday afternoon.

Duke sports are finally back as David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils face the No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Devils have fond memories of their last time inside the confines of Notre Dame Stadium, where Duke stunned Notre Dame with a 38-35 victory in 2016, but the sting of last season’s loss in Wallace Wade Stadium still lingers with a 38-7 beatdown by the Irish.

Both teams will have significantly different looks to them from a season ago, but none more different than Duke. The Blue Devils will be sending out starting quarterback Chase Brice, who transferred to Durham from Clemson.

Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish will have steady quarterback Ian Book back under center as he looks to lead Notre Dame back to the College Football Playoff and try and claim the school’s first-ever ACC Championship.

Book and his offensive line will be tested with the fierce Duke defensive line headlined by Chris Rumph II and Victor Dmukeje, and the Blue Devils will see the return of star cornerback Mark Gilbert, who has not played since September 8, 2018, following a hip injury suffered against Northwestern.

Gilbert will be joined in the secondary alongside Michael Carter II, Marquis Waters, and Josh Blackwell against an unproven group of Notre Dame receivers.

ALSO READ: Duke tasked with tough test of Ian Book, Notre Dame in Week 1

The Duke defense is going to have to contain the Notre Dame rushing attack, especially with Book, whom the Blue Devils failed to contain last season, and force those receivers to make plays over the top of the secondary.

Offensively, the Blue Devils should look a little different under the play calling of David Cutcliffe, and expect the head coach to get his quarterback comfortable early by using running back Deon Jackson and tight end Noah Gray in a multitude of sets on first and second down.

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Duke is listed as a big underdog going into a limited capacity setting at Notre Dame Stadium, three touchdowns to be exact, but will try and pull off yet another stunning upset in South Bend at 2:30pm EST on NBC.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 31, Duke 20

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