One week after a gut-wrenching loss to No. 6 Ohio State in South Bend, the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish went to Durham and got a huge win over the No. 17 Duke Blue Devils with some late heroics from Sam Hartman and Audric Estime. The Irish hand the Blue Devils their first loss of the season and take some momentum back after the loss to the Buckeyes. Here’s how this result impacts the Irish and Blue Devils in the College Football Playoff conversation.
Notre Dame needed this badly to keep its CFP hopes alive. The Irish are still going to need some upsets to happen, and they’ll need to run the table as well. The next two weeks are massive, with undefeated Louisville and highly ranked USC up. If the Irish can navigate both those games, they’ll be tested against Clemson later on in the year. Notre Dame absolutely could not lose this game.
Duke probably needed to go undefeated to have a shot at the playoff, but this loss doesn’t completely end the Blue Devils. This is a non-conference setback since the Irish are independents, so Duke can still run the table in the ACC and make the title game. There are games left against ranked Florida State and North Carolina teams, so the opportunity is there. If Riley Leonard’s health checks out, the Blue Devils can still be in the mix.