In the eyes of many, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was, or at least should be, on the hot seat entering the Duke game. Exiting the Week 4 game, that bandwagon is likely overloaded.
The day started out well enough for the Irish as they held a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter. However, against a Blue Devils offense that came into the game 94th nationally in scoring (25.3 points per game), the Irish defense had no answers as Duke scored 38 points over the next three and a half quarters to stun the Domers 38-35 in South Bend.
The Irish held a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter as well before the defense gave up a 64-yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 35-all. The defense then allowed a back-breaking 10-play drive that resulted in what turned out to be a game-winning field goal with 1:24 remaining.
Notre Dame, which began the season ranked in the Top 10, has now tumbled to 1-3 on the year. In each of those three losses, the Irish have given up at least 36 points.
Whether head coach Brian Kelly pulls the trigger on an in-season move with VanGorder remains to be seen. Based on the early returns, one could hardly blame him if he did.