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Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. Duke Blue Devils: SEPTEMBER 23, 2023 at Wallace Wade Stadium

Three Mikes

SEPTEMBER 23, 2023


Wallace Wade Stadium

Durham, North Carolina

Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Duke Blue Devils

The Duke Blue Devils are the next team with an undefeated record entering the next Irish game. With home wins over Clemson, Lafayette and Northwestern and a road win over Connecticut, the Blue Devils sit at #15 in the Coaches Poll, just 4 spots behind the Irish.

Second year Head Coach Mike Elko is no stranger to the Irish having served one year as Defensive Coordinator under Brian Kelly before being persuaded ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$) to join Jimbo Fisher when he became the Head Coach of the Texas A&M Aggies.

Elko’s defensive prowess is showing so far in the 2023 season as the Blue Devils have surrendered 7, 7, 14 and 7 points in their four games. (No, my finger did not get stuck on the “7”!)

There, of course, can be a religious connotation with the use of “Blue Devils” as a team mascot. Reports from the 1920’s indicate a Duke student publication pushed for that nickname in recognition of the WWI French Alpine soldiers known as the “Chausseurs Alpins”, with the nickname “Les Diables Bleus”.

For a “change of pace” if one searches for the meaning of “Blue Devil”, only one of these would NOT be found:

· The name commonly attached to the blue color of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 manufactured from 2008 to 2013.

· A genus of fish.

· A water-based cleaning solvent particularly effective at dealing with alcohol stains.

· An American intelligence-gathering blimp under development in 2012.

Which one is it?

This Blue Devil mascot appears to be signaling a TD or a successful extra point or field goal.

Which current Blue Devils merit particular attention form the Irish to limit the frequency of the above photo depiction?

Remember Brennan Armstrong the much- ballyhooed North Carolina State QB. Standing 6’2’’ and weighing 212 lbs, Brennan Armstong was identified as a real threat to the Irish because of his great running skill and strong passing skill. Well now comes a faster, 6’ 4” 212 lbs QB with better passing skills in Riley Leonard (#13). Characterized by some as a “tank” he is 10th in the country in yards after contact.

The Duke RBs, also run effectively. They are Jaylen Coleman (#22), at 6’1” and 204 lbs, t 6’0”, Jacquez Moore (#9), at 5’ 10” and 201 lbs., and Jordan Waters (#7) at 6’0” and 219 lbs. Jordan’s rushing 2023 TD total matches his uniform number!! But TreVeyon Henderson they not be, nor even the bulldozer Chip Trayanum who apparently managed 1 and ½ as only 1 was required. I still have not seen the replay that the “crack” Big Ten crew viewed of the winning Ohio State TD, but from my vantage point in the NE corner of Notre Dame Stadium, viewing the Stadium Video Board at the South end of the Stadium though my certainly “unbiased” eyes, I saw a knee hit the turf before the ball touched the field side of the Goal Line. Apparently, I need to see my Eye doctor for a checkup.

Leonard’s primary target is WR Jalon Calhoun (#5), at 5’1’’, 191 lbs. A Marvin Harrison, Jr., Emeke Egbuka, or Julian Fleming he not be, thankfully!

As noted earlier, Elko’s prowess is on the defensive side of the line. He turned the Irish D around the one year he was with the Irish as the replacement for Brian VanGorder. Duke’s first year D-Coordinator is Tyler Santucci who was a Grad assistant with the Irish during Elko’s one year with the Irish.

Elko’s second year record stands at 13-4. His Blue Devils have lost only one home tilt, which was in the 2022 season to North Carolina by 3 points.

The Irish will be looking for their 30th consecutive win over ACC teams. They have defeated every single one of them except one since their last loss to an ACC team. Let’s forget that ignominious event in 2017 against the Miami Hurricane. And the only ACC team not defeated since then . . . the Miami Hurricane.

Zeke Correll will face a familiar face across the line. Ja’Mion Franklin (#5) transferred to Duke from Notre Dame. He is now in his second season for Duke and serves as one of the team captains.

Don’t be fooled by the pictured Ja’Mion in uniform #55, last year’s version. From 55 to 5! But that does not mean he is only 10% of his 2022 self. This former Irish Player is 6’2” and 309 lbs. A big boy. A really big boy!! This Grad student could find a role in providing breadth and depth for the Irish D line.

Dorian Mausi (#8) is the Blue Devis Mike LB (f/k/a or a/k/a the Middle LB). The Irish need to contain his efforts.

The question thus must be asked. Will Notre Dame be able to score?

Duke University was founded as Brown’s Schoolhouse in 1838. Among Duke Alumni are Les Brown the leader of Les Brown and His Band of Renown. A graduate during the mid- 1930’s, it is safe to say the school was not named after Les. It is also safe to say the Blue Devils will “face the music” against the Irish.

Other notable Duke alums are Sonny Jurgensen, the long-time QB for the Washington Redskins (oops, my bad, Commanders), politicians current U.S. Senator Rand Paul, former U.S. President Richard Nixon, and current Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Some have suggested JB as the 2024 Democratic candidate for President should Joe Biden not be the nominee for some reason. If JB should be the nominee and is elected, it will be an “irony of ironies” that immigrants continue to come to the US by the millions which he could then be heading, while Illinois residents are leaving Illinois by the millions.

The host of ABC’s Good Morning America, David Hartman is a Duke graduate. On the whole, I will take ND’s Hartman! What say you?

The sports world at large knows of the prowess of the Duke basketball program under Coach “K”. TRUE sports fans, however, will know the Duke fencing program is also top-notch with recent Olympic fencing medal winners in Ibtihaj Muhammad and Becca Ward. TRUE sports fans will also know the Duke fencing program pales in comparison to the Irish fencing program which won its 13th NCAA Championship this year and has had multiple Olympic Champions, such as

Lee Kiefer

Mariel Zagunis

Gerek Meinhardt

Hope you get the point!!

When completing this missive, I was particularly pleased to utilize the word “ballyhooed”. And to assist your “Blue Devil” understanding, please be careful not to spill your favorite liquid refreshment, for if you do, do not look for Blue Devil to take care of the stains!!

By the way, Sam the Man has 14 TDs this year without an interception. He soon will, hopefully, approach Brady Quinn’s season opening record of 22 TDs without an interception.

As for the game itself, it says here:

Notre Dame 31

Duke Blue Devils 17


Here are the answers to your Irish Trivia Questions from last week.

1. Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer have all coached the Buckeyes to a National Championship. Can you name the Irish Coaches who have led the Irish to a National Championship? Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Lou Holtz and Dan Devine

2. 1995 saw the Irish lose big to the Buckeyes. In that game an Ohio State RB ran for over 200 yards and 2 TDS. He won the Heisman Trophy that year. This player has or will lead his team against the Irish this year as Head Coach. Here he is in that 1995 game. Can you name him?

Eddie George

3. Can you name the five Notre Dame Head Coaches who coached the Irish for more than 10 years? Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Lou Holtz and Brian Kelly

4. What do these 12 men have in common? James L. Morrison, H.G. Hadden, Frank E. Herring, James McWeeney, Pat O’Dea, James Farragher, Red Salmon, Henry J. McGlew, Thomas A. Barry, Victor M. Place, Frank Longman, and John L. Marky? They are all Notre Dame Football Head Coaches.

Here are your Irish Trivia Questions for this week.

1. Who is the 2023 Notre Dame Captain who was also a Captain for the 2022 team?

2. Notre Dame often has multiple players as Captains for the team. Who was the last Notre Dame player to be the single Captain for the Irish?

3. Four Notre Dame Captains have later become the Irish Head Coach? Can you name them?

And, of course, our hearts forever . . .

. . . Love, thee Notre Dame!

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