Some thoughts and observations about Duke’s 38-35 win over Notre Dame.
▪ DeVon Edwards said last week it was “just another game on our schedule.” Players tend to say those things but it would not be -- for Edwards or for Duke. His knee injury Saturday was another huge gut punch for a team that took one when quarterback Thomas Sirk re-injured his Achilles tendon in preseason.
▪ Shaun Wilson’s 96-yard touchdown, on the next kickoff after Edwards was injured, was textbook. He went north-south, getting key blocks, but also seeming to be running with some added fury, Edwards on his mind.
▪ At the ACC Kickoff in July, Edwards was asked about a proposal that college football do away with kickoffs, that the play is too dangerous. His response: “I feel like that’s a game-changer play. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of injuries that come with that, though I don’t really have a problem with it. I like kick returning and I don’t think it should go away.”
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▪ It was said before the game but now can be said again: the Irish have major issues on defense. They have no pass rush and they don’t have very good cover guys in the secondary. That’s a coach’s nightmare and it’s Brian Kelly’s for now.
▪ Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer may be a better athlete than Duke’s Daniel Jones but Jones was the better, more efficient quarterback. Some players freeze on the big stage. Jones thrived, throwing for three TDs. Duke’s No. 17 was reminiscent of another No. 17 who once played in the Triangle before leaving N.C. State for the San Diego Chargers.
▪ Years from now, AJ Reed will still be telling a story that begins, “You know, my first college field goal beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame.”
▪ Duke was a 20-point underdog, on the road, playing at Notre Dame -- and won. The Blue Devils lost one of their best players, a senior captain, to a terrible injury early -- and won. They trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and 35-28 in the fourth -- and won. One can only imagine the emotion in that locker room after the game.