SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Kyren Williams ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, grad quarterback Ian Book passed for 263 yards and No. 10 Notre Dame beat Duke 27-13 on Saturday at rainy Notre Dame Stadium in the season and ACC opener for both teams.
The speedy Williams, who saw limited action last season as a freshman, had 19 carries and also was Notre Dame’s leading receiver with two receptions for 93 yards, one a 75-yarder in the first half.
The victory was Notre Dame’s 19th straight at home and the first for the Fighting Irish in a conference after 132 years as an independent. Because of COVID-19, the Irish are playing this season as a member of the ACC. The school announced a crowd of 10,097, 90% of them students, attended the game in the 77,622-seat stadium where fans were wearing masks and socially distanced because of the pandemic.
The triumph also came on a day when the school announced a four-year contract extension for Coach Brian Kelly, who is now 9-2 in openers at Notre Dame.
Book outdueled Duke grad quarterback Chase Brice, who passed for 259 yards on 20-of-37 passing and rushed for a touchdown in his debut for Coach David Cutcliffe after transferring in from Clemson.
Book, who rushed for 139 yards and passed for 181 yards and four touchdowns last season in Notre Dame’s 38-7 victory at Duke, completed 19 of 31 passes, one a 17-yard TD pass to Avery Davis early in the fourth quarter that increased the Irish lead to 24-13. He rushed for just 12 yards on nine carries.
The Irish, who were outgained 151-13 in the first quarter as the Blue Devils took a 3-0 lead on the first of Charlie Ham's two field goals, took a 10-6 halftime lead when Jonathan Doerer nailed a 48-yard field goal, his first of two successful field goals, as time expired.
Lummie Young IV
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