SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Kyren Williams ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, grad quarterback Ian Book threw for 263 yards and No. 10 Notre Dame beat Duke 27-13 on Saturday at rainy Notre Dame Stadium in the season and Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
The speedy Williams, who saw limited action last season as a freshman, had 19 carries and also was Notre Dame's leading receiver with two receptions for 93 yards, one a 75-yarder in the first half.
The victory was Notre Dame's 19th straight at home and the first for the Fighting Irish in a conference after 132 years as an independent. Because of COVID-19, the Irish are playing this season as a member of the ACC. The school announced a crowd of 10,097, 90% of them students, attended the game in the 77,622-seat stadium where fans were wearing masks and socially distanced because of the pandemic.
The triumph also came on a day when the school announced a four-year contract extension for coach Brian Kelly, who is now 9-2 in openers at Notre Dame.
Book outdueled Duke grad quarterback Chase Brice, who threw for 259 yards on 20-of-37 passing and rushed for a touchdown in his debut for coach David Cutcliffe after transferring in from Clemson.
Book completed 19 of 31 passes, one a 17-yard TD pass to Avery Davis early in the fourth quarter that increased the Irish lead to 24-13. He rushed for just 12 yards on nine carries.
No. 18 North Carolina 31, Syracuse 6
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Javonte Williams ran for three fourth-quarter touchdowns and North Carolina overcame a mistake-filled performance to beat Syracuse in the season and Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Michael Carter added 138 yards of total offense for the Tar Heels in an empty home stadium after the school opted to open with no fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Syracuse's offense did little well, generating little from its running game unless it came on quarterback
Syracuse's Tommy DeVito completed just 13 of 31 passes for 112 yards while taking seven sacks, and the Orange finished with 202 total yards.
Georgia Tech 16, Florida State 13
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — True freshman Jeff Sims, who was once a Florida State commitment, threw for 277 yards and a touchdown as Georgia Tech defeated the Seminoles in both teams' season opener.
Sims completed 24 of 35 passes and had two costly interceptions but the Jacksonville, Florida, native also ran for 64 yards and helped guide Georgia Tech to the season-opening win.
Jordan Mason also ran 14 times for 55 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown run.
The Seminoles used defense and special teams to stay in the game. Cornerback Asante Samuel had two interceptions and two pass break-ups for Florida State. Marvin Wilson blocked a pair of field-goal attempts, while Janarius Robinson blocked an extra-point attempt.
James Blackman completed 23 of 43 passes for 198 yards but he was largely ineffective after the Seminoles scored a touchdown and a field goal on their first two drives. Blackman connected with Keyshawn Helton for a 3-yard touchdown on Florida State's opening drive.
The Seminoles had a pair of fourth-down chances on their last two drives but fell short. Blackman looked for Tamorrion Terry on the last fourth-down play but the pass was into the ground in front of the Seminoles' top receiver.