Duke has never been considered a football school, but the Blue Devils found themselves on the verge breakthrough against No. 11 Notre Dame on Saturday. Duke entered at 4-0, ranked No. 16 in their polls, their highest ranking since 1993. A primetime matchup with the Irish offered Duke a chance for a true statement win that would announce the arrival of the program. For 59 minutes, it looked like they had it.

With 41 seconds left in regulation, Duke held a one-point lead over Notre Dame, and the defense had a chance to close out the game with the Fighting Irish were facing a 4th-and-16 from midfield. That’s when it all started to unravel.

Notre Dame beat Duke, 21-14, after a heartbreaking ending for the Blue Devils in the cruelest way possible.

Allowing Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman to pick up the first down with his legs on 4th-and-16 was the start of Duke’s downfall. Watch the clip here:

Two plays later, Notre Dame running back Audric Estime busted through the line to rip off a 30-yard touchdown run. The Irish had taken the lead.

Watch Estime’s TD run here:

Duke got the ball back with 27 seconds left starting at their own 25-yard-line. On the second play of the drive, star QB Riley Leonard was crushed by ND defenders, and fumbled. Even worse, Leonard appears to have suffered a serious ankle injury. We won’t embed the play, but you can click here to watch it.

After the game, Hartman went over to Leonard to check on him.

Duke was so close to a signature win. What a sad way to lose.

2023-10-01T04:06:50Z dg43tfdfdgfd