Injury was added to insult on Saturday night after as a Riley Leonard injury ended an upset bid that Duke nearly pulled off.
Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame went from bad to worse in an instant for the Duke Blue Devils.
Duke was attempting to mount a comeback after blowing a one-point lead with under a minute left in the game. Quarterback Riley Leonard, who had looked fantastic in the second half, was strip sacked by Notre Dame’s pass rush but his game-ending turnover was the least of the Blue Devils’ concerns.
During the strip sack, Leonard’s leg got trapped and bent awkwardly as he was knocked back. He almost immediately grabbed for his ankle and was clearly in a severe amount of pain. Two teammates needed to carry him off the field, which symbolized the night for Duke in more than one way.
Leonard finished the night with on 134 yards passing, but his performance on what looked to be a potential game-winning drive for Duke is what fans should remember from the night. On that drive, Leonard helped the offense bleed almost six minutes off the clock and force the Irish into an extreme position — one they ended up wiggling out of.
It was a gutsy performance from Leonard, who scrambled for 14 yards on back-to-back plays to help extend the drive. Duke ended up punting and pinning Notre Dame inside its own five yard line, but it wasn’t enough to fend off the No. 11 team in the country.
To have the night end the way it did, with Leonard going down with an injury, was absolutely brutal. He was carried off the field, but the image of that isn’t just one of an injured player but a guy who had lifted his team as much as he could even if it ended in defeat.