Notre Dame running back Audric Estime ran 30 yards for a go-ahead touchdown with 31 seconds left to lift the No. 11 Fighting Irish to a 21-14 road win over no. 17 Duke on Saturday in the first game between ranked teams at Wallace Wade Stadium since 1994. The Blue Devils sought their first 5-0 start since that 1994 season and erased a 13-0 second-half deficit in the second half before Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman led the game-winning, 95-yard drive capped by Estime's scoring run.
Faced with a fourth-and-16 at Duke's 47-yard line with just over a minute to play, Hartman could not find an open receiver downfield. Instead, he took off and dove for the first down. Hartman then spiked the football to stop the clock, and Estime's go-ahead run came on the ensuing play as Duke's home crowd of 40,768 fell silent.
The win extended Notre Dame's regular-season winning streak against ACC foes to 30 games and denied Duke another program-boosting victory. The Blue Devils already turned heads with a 28-7 victory over Clemson on Labor Day and were enjoying their best AP Top 25 ranking since 1994. A victory likely would have surged second-year coach Mike Elko's team into the top 15 for the first time since 1971.
A week after suffering a devastating 17-14 loss to Ohio State, the Fighting Irish showed resilience in a hostile environment. Estime totaled 80 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries while tight end Mitchell Evans caught six passes for 134 yards. Hartman completed just 15 of 30 passes for 222 yards, but he took care of the football and came through with clutch plays while the game was at stake.
Hartman and Estime ended up as the heroes, but Duke quarterback Riley Leonard did his part in the second half against a stout Notre Dame defense. The junior authored touchdown drives of 75 and 80 yards, respectively, and put the Blue Devils ahead 14-13 with 9:17 remaining when he hit Jordan Moore for a 3-yard touchdown pass.
The game ended in nightmare fashion for Leonard when he suffered anwith under 30 seconds left after Notre Dame's go-ahead score. Leonard remained in the team's injury tent after the game and left the field on crutches. The Blue Devils have a bye next week before hosting NC State on Oct. 14, while Notre Dame plays at Louisville next week.