The 93rd meeting between Notre Dame and Navy ended just like most of the 92 meetings before it: a Notre Dame blowout. This game was a route from the start, and Brian Kelly had the perfect game plan to make it happen.
I wrote in my preview that the opening two or three series would dictate the rest of the game. Well, the Irish made sure to let Navy know that they were not messing around. Tony Jones had four carries on the opening drive, and Ian Book had two. Chase Claypool had two short catches that turned into big plays. The first was a five-yard out that he took for 23 yards down the sideline. The second was a seven yarder for a touchdown to give Notre Dame a 7-0 lead.
Ian Book went 3-4 for 44 yards on the first drive, which is just what he needed. Brian Kelly knew exactly what he needed to do, and the Irish executed it almost to perfection. After being spotted seven points, it was on the defense to slow down that Navy run game.
Notre Dame Defensive Prowess
Navy came out on their first drive and exploited the Irish front seven, just as expected. The difference-maker on this drive? A fumble. After driving inside the Notre Dame 25 yard line, Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry lost a fumble. After that fumble with 4:05 left in the first, Navy wouldn’t see Notre Dame territory again until the one minute mark of the second quarter.
Notre Dame was great plugging the holes and getting to guys in the backfield against the powerful Navy rushing attack. Notre Dame ended the game with two sacks and eight tackles for a loss. The Irish held Navy to 4.4 YPC, which is well below their season-long average of almost six yards per carry.
The story of the day is none other than Chase Claypool. As mentioned in my preview, Navy would throw some smaller cornerbacks at him. Well, that is exactly what they did, and he dominated them. Claypool was phenomenal, ending the day with four touchdowns. A Notre Dame record. Well, a share of the record, at least. Chase tied Maurice Stovall, who also had four receiving touchdowns in a game against BYU 14 years ago.
The Irish knew who their man was today and they stuck to it!
This was probably the best offensive performance Notre Dame has put together all season. Ian Book was on point all day long. The run game was solid and spread out with eight people seeing at least one carry.
After establishing the underneath stuff, Book was able to take some shots downfield, and that he did! He hit former track star Braden Lenzy on a 70-yard post in the second quarter. It was an absolute dime from Book, and it was a perfect example of how to run this offense.
The Irish dominated every aspect of the game on their first drive. Allowing them to do whatever they wanted for the rest of the game leading to 52 points. Let’s not forget about Ian Book’s day, though, either.
Ian Book had probably the best game of his career at Notre Dame. He was 14 of 20 for 287 yards and five touchdowns. FIVE TDs! He was nearly perfect, and Bthere was no stress in this victory.
Notre Dame Victory & What’s Next
The Irish wound up blowing the Midshipmen out 52-20. In their most complete game of the season, Notre Dame had everything working. They will look to keep the momentum going as they host Boston College in the Holy War this week. A preview of this game will be out this week.
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