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Estime, Hartman help No. 11 Notre Dame push past No. 17 Duke for road win

Notre Dame's Audric Estimé Notre Dame's Audric Estimé - The Canadian Press

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Audric Estime snuck through a crowd and broke free for a 30-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left, capping a clutch long drive by No. 11 Notre Dame, leading the Fighting Irish past No. 17 Duke 21-14 on Saturday night.

Estime's run capped a 95-yard drive, one pushed by transfer quarterback Sam Hartman making multiple big plays with the Fighting Irish (5-1) trailing 14-13. That included on a fourth-and-16 play in the final minute, with Hartman unable to find anyone downfield as he scrambled to his right before taking off and getting just enough — 17 yards, with a hard collision at the end of it — to keep Notre Dame alive.

Estime followed with the winning score two plays later, then Hartman hit Rico Flores on the 2-point conversion to make it a seven-point game.

Duke (4-1) had a final chance to tie it, but its last offensive snap ended in disaster. Star quarterback Riley Leonard was stripped of the ball by Howard Cross III while trying to throw, leading to a loose ball recovered by the Irish to end it. But Cross' body also rolled up on Leonard's right leg, leaving him writhing in pain on the ground as Notre Dame began to celebrate the game-clinching takeaway.

When it was over, Leonard was taken to a sideline medical tent for evaluation as the teams left the field. Hartman walked over and waited for Leonard to emerge — on crutches — to share a quick hug and a few words before jogging off for the locker room.

It marked Notre Dame's 30th straight regular-season win against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

Leonard threw for a 3-yard touchdown to Jordan Moore for the 14-13 lead with 9:17 left, a perfectly executed play that had Moore go in motion then leak out into the end zone for an all-alone reception.

Leonard ran for 88 yards and threw for 134 more, though he threw his first interception of the season.

Jordan Waters also ran for a short touchdown for the Blue Devils, who trailed 13-0 midway through the third quarter before finally beginning to open some running lanes against the Fighting Irish’s defensive front.

Estime finished with 81 yards on the ground and two scores, the first coming from 6 yards out on Notre Dame’s first drive. That came after the Fighting Irish got a 34-yard run around the right side from Jeremiyah Love on a fake punt to extend the drive.

Hartman threw for 222 yards but no touchdowns in the game.


Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish stumbled in their College Football Playoff chase with last week’s loss to Ohio State on a last-second touchdown. But they responded with a strong defensive effort against Duke's ground game before halftime, then enough resilience to fight back when Duke seemed on the verge of another massive victory this season.

Duke: This was a big moment for the Blue Devils, starting with hosting ESPN’s “College GameDay” for football for the first time after multiple visits here for the storied men’s basketball program. There was also the ABC national prime-time broadcast and a rowdy sellout crowd. Duke thrived a similar spotlight to start the year by blowing out preseason ACC favorite Clemson on Labor Day. Duke was on the verge of doing it again before being unable to stop Hartman and the Irish in the critical final minute, missing out on the chance to go to 5-0 for the first time since 1994.


Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish visit Louisville next Saturday, marking their third of six matchups with the ACC as part of an annual scheduling deal.

Duke: The Blue Devils have a weekend off before hosting North Carolina State on Oct. 14, marking the Wolfpack’s first drive over from nearby Raleigh since 2013.