It’s odd to see a David Cutcliffe team struggle on offense but that’s what’s been happening in Durham. Part of Duke’s undoing is the 10 turnovers they have. That will have to change if Duke is looking to score their biggest win of the season.
In their latest defeat, Duke’s quarterback Daniel Jones attempted 48 passes but only threw for 279 yards. Jones did chip in 47 yards on 10 attempts against Northwestern. The Blue Devils will look to get their short passing game working early, setting up double moves down the field.
Jela Duncan leads the Blue Devil rushing attack and he has had some success this season. Duncan eclipsed the 100-yard mark in their opener against North Carolina Central and has an impressive 5.5 yards per carry.
On defense, Duke has been impressive in their first three games. Duke has 14 sacks (third in the nation) and 16 hurries.
To be fair, Notre Dame’s defense is still trying to find their footing under VanGorder. The defense has given up an average of 198.7 yards a game. That ranks 99th in the nation. It’s imperative that the Irish defense gets the Duke offense off schedule by not allowing the Blue Devils to gain 4 and 5 yards on first down.
On offense, Notre Dame needs to get off to a fast start and that means more than just scoring on their first possession. The Irish will need to crush the Blue Devils’ spirit from jump. With Duke’s pass rush helping out their secondary, if the Irish can give Kizer time he will be able beat the Blue Devils deep early and often.
Against the Spartans, Notre Dame’s running game was non-existent so it wouldn’t be shocking if Coach Brian Kelly tries to get the running game started early which will include Kizer keeping the ball on the read option.
Before the season no one thought this would be a ‘must win’ situation for the Irish but here we are. Notre Dame will not only need to win but win impressively.
Prediction: Notre Dame 40 Duke 23
Marcus “Mook” Washington is the host of Making The Cut. Follow Mook on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook