A day after Notre Dame suffered its biggest upset loss in 20 years, coach Brian Kelly announced Sunday he had fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. Defensive analyst Greg Hudson, a Notre Dame alum, will take over VanGorder's responsibilities.

The decision to fire VanGorder, who was in his third season, came a day after the Irish fell 38-35 to Duke, against whom they were 21-point favorites.

"Our defense simply isn't where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes," Kelly said in a statement. 

Kelly had continually backed VanGorder publicly, saying Saturday night that the team's struggling defense was the least of his concerns.

MOREVanGorder Relieved of Duties; Hudson Assumes Responsibilities

He also insisted on Sept. 18, a day after a 36-28 loss to Michigan State, that VanGorder was the right person to coach his defense.

"Absolutely," Kelly said. "Without question. That's not even part of the conversation."

Notre Dame, now 1-3 for the first time since Kelly's first season in 2010, ranks 103rd in total defense after Saturday's loss, the team's fourth in five games and fifth in a row against team from a Power 5 conference.

Duke had scored a combined 27 points in its previous two games -- losses against Wake Forest and Northwestern.

Hudson was Purdue's defensive coordinator from 2013-15. He was an assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Florida State from 2010-12 and before that spent five seasons as defensive coordinator at East Carolina.

"Obviously this is a difficult day for our coaching staff," Hudson said. "But I'm excited and honored about the opportunity Coach Kelly has afforded me. We've got to improve on defense, without a doubt, and I'm confident that we will."

This article was written by Paul Skrbina from Chicago Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.