Sep 12, 2020; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe walks in to Notre Dame Stadium before the game agains the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 10 Notre Dame downs Duke in ACC debut

Running back Kyren Williams ran for two touchdowns as No. 10 Notre Dame marked an historic occasion by defeating visiting Duke 27-13 on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.

It was Notre Dame’s first football game as a conference member, with the Irish agreeing this summer to shed its independent status in order to play a 2020 Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. The change — for now a one-year arrangement — was made when the coronavirus pandemic created havoc with scheduling at a time when the status of the season was uncertain.

Williams, a sophomore, gained 112 yards on the ground on 19 carries.

Quarterback Ian Book threw a touchdown and an interception for Notre Dame. He was 19-for-31 for 263 yards in the air.

Duke quarterback Chase Brice, a graduate transfer from Clemson, made his first collegiate start and completed 20 of 37 passes for 259 yards.

Williams helped Notre Dame stretch its lead to 17-6 in the third quarter with a 26-yard TD run on fourth-and-1.

Brice ran 2 yards on a keeper for Duke’s first touchdown of the season, closing the gap to 17-13 with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

Notre Dame responded early in the fourth quarter with Book’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Avery Davis on third-and-10. Jonathan Doerer’s 34-yard field goal padded the lead.

Duke’s second possession resulted in a 79-yard drive, with Charlie Ham’s 29-yard field goal providing the game’s first points. It was Ham’s first collegiate kick.

Notre Dame didn’t gain a first down until its fourth possession. That appeared to stall shortly after, but a pickup on a fake punt — with punter Jay Bramblett scrambling 14 yards — seemed to spark what became a 96-yard drive. Williams scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

Ham was good from 30 yards in the second quarter.

Notre Dame’s next possession was thwarted when Lummie Young IV intercepted Book in the end zone. The Irish stretched their lead to 10-6 on Doerer’s 48-yard field goal on the last play of the first half.

The game was played with an estimated 16,000 spectators, with coronavirus-related restrictions in place.

–Field Level Media

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