No. 10 Notre Dame weathers storm to beat NC State 45-24

North Carolina State's Julian Gray (8) tries to avoid the tackle of Notre Dame's DJ Brown,...
North Carolina State's Julian Gray (8) tries to avoid the tackle of Notre Dame's DJ Brown, right, and Thomas Harper (13) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)(Associated Press)
Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 2:19 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNDU/AP) - The Notre Dame football team saw a streak that its defense was mighty proud of come to an end, but it kept another impressive streak alive in a 45-24 win over NC State on Saturday.

The No. 10 Irish gave up their first touchdown of the season late in the second quarter but have now won 29 straight regular-season matchups against Atlantic Coast Conference teams dating back to 2017. Their last regular season loss to an ACC team came at Miami (FL) back on Nov. 11, 2017.

Notre Dame improved to 3-0 on the season in a game that was delayed for an hour and 45 minutes due to inclement weather and lightning. The Fighting Irish led 3-0 with 14:45 left in the second quarter when officials informed fans shortly before 1 p.m. that the game would be suspended and everyone had to evacuate the field.

When the teams returned to the field, Audric Estimé burst through a big hole on the right side and pulled away from defenders for an 80-yard score that was a quick jolt of energy for the Irish after the long wait to return. Estimé ran for 134 yards and two scores, including a 7-yard run through traffic with 10:42 left in the game that put the Fighting Irish in firm control.

Sam Hartman threw for 286 yards and four scores in the win, which was a redemption of sorts for the sixth-year passer who transferred from Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons were every-year in-state opponents for the Wolfpack in the ACC’s former divisional format, and Hartman had been 0-2 in games played in Raleigh.

Tight end Holden Staes also had a breakout game for the Irish, catching four passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

The game wasn’t as easy as the score indicated much of the way for the Irish, as they were only up 24-17 after three quarters. But Notre Dame turned it from a one-possession game into a blowout thanks to interceptions on consecutive possessions early in the fourth quarter.

Brennan Armstrong ran for a score and threw for two more for NC State (1-1), but he threw three interceptions, and the Wolfpack got no rushing production beyond 26 yards. His 9-yard pass to Bradley Rozner with 1:16 left before halftime marked the first touchdown Notre Dame had given up this year after allowing just a field goal in games against Navy and Tennessee State.

The Fighting Irish return home to host Central Michigan next Saturday.