Duke Falls To Notre Dame, 28-7
Nov. 17, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame finally got to celebrate a home victory this season.
The Fighting Irish avoided becoming the Notre Dame team in 74 years to go a season winless at home, beating Duke 28-7 on Saturday behind three touchdown passes by Jimmy Clausen. Clausen threw a pair of 25-yard touchdown passes 73 seconds apart to break the game open.
Both touchdown passes came after fumbles by Duke (1-10). Clausen first connected with a diving David Grimes with 1:17 left in the first half and threw to Duval Kamara with 4 seconds left. He also had a 9-yard TD pass to John Carlson in the fourth quarter.
The Irish (2-9) will avoid becoming the third team in school history to finish a season with just two wins if they beat Stanford on Saturday. In addition to ending a four-game losing streak, the Irish won at home for the first time since beating Army 41-9 in last season's finale.
Duke, playing on national TV for the first time since 1996, lost its eighth straight. It has just two wins against Bowl Subdivision teams the past four seasons: against Northwestern earlier this season and against Clemson in 2004.
Robert Hughes added a 13-yard touchdown run for the Irish, rushing for a season-high 110 yards on 17 carries. He's the first Irish freshman to run for 100 yards since Darius Walker ran for 112 against Pittsburgh on Nov. 13, 2004.
Notre Dame, which entered the game with the second-worst rushing average in the nation at 56.6 yards a game, rushed for more than 100 yards for just the third time, finishing with 220 on 48 carries.
Clausen was 16-for-32 for 194 yards and had his second straight three-touchdown game.
Duke entered the game last in the nation in rushing at 52.9 yards a game and did nothing to move up with 94 yards on 27 carries. Thaddeus Lewis was 16-of-33 passing for 121 yards. Duke avoided the shutout when backup quarterback Zack Asack scored on a 6-yard run with 1:12 left.
Both teams played like 1-9 teams through most of the mistake-filled first half.
Carlson caught a 41-yard pass from Clausen and got to the 4 on the opening drive. But from his knees Carlson signaled for the first down and was penalized 15 yards for unsporsmanlike conduct. The Irish drive stalled and Brandon Walker missed a 30-yard field goal attempt.
Duke's Nick Maggio also missed a 42-yard field goal before Duke's two biggest mistakes, a pair of fumbles.
Lewis fumbled during a run on third-and-17 from the Notre Dame 38. Safety David Bruton recovered for the Irish on the 42. Hughes set up the Notre Dame TD on fourth-and-1 from the Duke 49, running around left end for a 24-yard gain.
After a Notre Dame timeout, Clausen threw to a diving Grimes, who landed in the end zone with Duke cornerback Leon Wright on his back.
Three plays later, on third-and-5 from the Duke 37, Lewis completed a 3-yard pass to Jomar Wright, who fumbled when hit by Irish safety Kyle McCarthy. After the ball was hit on the ground by several players, cornerback Ambrose Wooden recovered at the Duke 25.
Clausen found Kamara in the end zone. It was his fourth TD catch this season, setting a school record for a freshman.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis had some fun at the end of game, playing safety Tom Zbikowski at quarterback. Zbikowski, an option quarterback in high school, ran for 2 yards on the first play and lost 4 on the next, but got a first down when the Blue Devils were called for a personal foul. After a 2-yard run by Zbikowski, tailback Travis Thomas fumbled the ball away at the 49.
That set up Duke's score, costing the Irish their first shutout since a 42-0 win against Rutgers on Nov. 23, 2002.