The Duke football team fell in agonizing fashion against No. 11 Notre Dame.
It was a historic day for the Duke football program.
A primetime matchup against No. 11 Notre Dame with ESPN’s College GameDay in the house and the first half could not have gone much worse for the Blue Devils.
Duke missed two field goals, were getting pushed around on the offensive line, and had nothing on the scoreboard but only trailed 10-0, which expanded to 13-0 shortly into the third quarter.
However, Riley Leonard and the Blue Devil offense woke up in the second half and energized the soldout crowd at Wallace Wade Stadium into a frenzy.
A conversion on 4th and 1 was the key play in the first touchdown drive for Duke that was capped off by Jordan Waters from one-yard out.
The teams traded punts and the Blue Devils took their first possession of the 4th quarter for a touchdown on a beautifully designed play that worked Jordan Moore wide open in the flat as Duke took its first lead, 14-13.
Once again, the Duke defense stood strong and gave its offense a chance to take command of the game but the driver stalled in Irish territory with under three minutes to play and forced Riley Leonard to punt from the Notre Dame 33-yard line.
Duke football cannot come up clutch play in final minutes
Mike Elko’s defense needed one stop to complete the comeback and stun the Irish but on a 4th and 16, Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman scrambled for 17 yards and kept hope alive which resulted in a 30-yard touchdown rush, plus a 2-point conversion, from Audric Estime.
Duke and Leonard had three timeouts and 31 seconds to try and tie the game but after a 5-yard completion on first down, the Blue Devil signal caller was stripped and sacked from behind which bent Riley Leonard backwards in an awkward fashion.
Leonard had to be helped off the field by his teammates and could not put any weight on his right leg or ankle while leaving the field on crutches.
No. 17 Duke (4-1, 1-0 ACC) enters a much needed bye week and hopes for good news this week on its star quarterback.