No. 17 Duke Falls in Late-Game Thriller to No. 11 Notre Dame

#11 Notre Dame 21, #17 Duke 14
Notre Dame's Audric Estimé (7) carries the ball past Duke's Terry Moore (23) for the go-ahead...
Notre Dame's Audric Estimé (7) carries the ball past Duke's Terry Moore (23) for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown late in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)(Ben McKeown | AP)
Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 4:51 PM EDT
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DURHAM (Duke Athletics) – No. 17 Duke led No. 11 Notre Dame 14-13 late in the fourth quarter, but the visiting Fighting Irish scored on a 30-yard touchdown rush with 31 seconds remaining to stun the Blue Devils, 21-14, Saturday night at a sold-out Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

On a Saturday that began with ESPN College GameDay’s first visit to Duke’s campus, ended with a classic, top-25 matchup that was decided in the closing seconds. Duke rallied from down 10-0 at halftime, and 13-0 in the second half, to grab a 14-13 lead thanks to third-quarter touchdown from Jordan Waters and a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Riley Leonard to Jordan Moore with 9:17 to play.

The loss was Duke’s (4-1) first this season, snapping a six-game winning streak that began last season, while the Fighting Irish improved to 5-1.Leonard completed 12 passes for 134 yards and the dual-threat junior quarterback was the game’s leading rusher with 88 yards on 18 carries.

Duke out-gained Notre Dame on the ground, 189-159 – the first opponent this season to rush for more than 150 yards. The Irish converted a fourth-and-16 to keep their eventual game-winning drive alive thanks to a 17-yard scramble from quarterback Sam Hartman and scored two plays later when Audric Estime broke loose for a 30-yard rumble with 31 seconds on the clock. 

  • The Fighting Irish opened a 13-0 edge after the first two quarters following a six-yard touchdown run by Estime and two field goals by Spencer Shrader.
  • The Blue Devils finally broke through late in the third quarter when Waters scampered in from one yard out to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive.
  • Duke pulled in front, 14-13, with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the game after Leonard found Moore wide open in the end zone.
  • The Blue Devils held strong over the next eight minutes and forced Notre Dame into a 4th-and-16 situation with 51 ticks remaining. Unfortunately, the Fighting Irish converted on the ensuing play to keep the drive alive, and two plays later were in the back of the end zone to take a 21-14 edge with 31 seconds remaining.
  • Duke tried to answer but Notre Dame forced a Blue Devil fumble, which the Fighting Irish recovered to secure the win.


  • Attendance at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday night was 40,768, marking the largest home crowd since Nov. 11, 1989 (41,200).
  • Waters has now scored a rushing touchdown in five consecutive games, marking the first Blue Devil to do so since Leonard from Oct. 15-Nov. 19, 2022.
  • Moore finished with four receptions for 67 yards with one touchdown and now has eight receiving scores to his ledger.
  • Duke rushed for 185-plus yards for the fourth time this season, racking up 189 yards on the ground.
  • Graduate student Punter Porter Wilson booted five punts 199 yards for an average of 39.8 yards per punt.
  • Redshirt sophomore linebacker Tre Freeman finished with a career-high 13 tackles to lead the Blue Devils.
  • Graduate student Jeremiah Lewis chipped in with 10 tackles, marking the second time in his career the Lewisville, Texas, native finished with double-digit stops.

Up Next

  • The Blue Devils have an open week before they welcome NC State to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Kick time has yet to be announced.