Players Of The Game: Notre Dame 52, Navy 20
Notre Dame won its third straight game, beating No. 23 Navy in impressive fashion. The Irish were dominant throughout in the 52-20 victory, which wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
There were so many standouts that it was impossible to pick just one player on either side of the ball, so I’m not going to do that.
QB Ian Book — 14-20, 284 passing yards, 5 TD’s / 31 rushing yards
WR Chase Claypool — 7 catches, 117 yards, 4 TD’s
It was impossible to separate the performances of Ian Book and Chase Claypool, who teamed up for four touchdown connections in the victory.
Claypool was dominant from start to finish - or at least when he was finished for the game, which was early in the third quarter, which makes his numbers even more impressive. Navy simply had no answer for him in any capacity. Claypool made plays on crossing routes, he made plays after the catch, he worked the middle of the field and he out-played a Navy defender for a pair of fade throw touchdowns.
The senior wideout has improved his release off the line, and when he’s giving good moves at the snap he’s almost impossible to defend. OC Chip Long did some things to isolate Claypool, and the Irish pass catcher made the most of those opportunities.
It wasn’t just the Book to Claypool show. The senior quarterback connected with Chris Finke on three throws for 57 yards, and he made the most impressive throw of his career when he hit speedster Braden Lenzy on a post route for a 70-yard touchdown. Book was decisive, made good reads and was accurate on short, intermediate and deep throws.
Book also made plays with his legs, including a 15-yard run that turned a 3rd-and-16 into a 4th-and-1, which the Irish converted.
Runners Up: WR Braden Lenzy, LT Liam Eichenberg
DE Khalid Kareem — 3 tackles, 2 TFL’s, 2 forced fumbles, 1 break up
LB Drew White — 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 fumble recovery
You could make a case for Asmar Bilal or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to be on this list as well, but I went with Kareem and White.
Kareem was a beast for the Irish, dominating at the point of attack and limiting Navy’s effectiveness when they tried to run at him. The senior showed excellent hustle from the backside as well, which helped limit the Navy cutback runs and resulted in his first forced fumble of the game.
Twice the senior knocked the ball out of a Navy player’s hands and he broke up a third-down throw in the victory. For the second straight contest, Kareem has led the defense with his hustle, toughness and playmaking ability.
White was all over the field for the Irish. He recovered a Navy fumble and led the Irish with 10 tackles, including a team-best six solo stops. Like Claypool’s offensive numbers, this is even more impressive when you consider White didn’t play beyond the halfway point of the third quarter.
Bilal and White were all over the Navy ground game, and White slammed hard downhill, fit gaps appropriately and played with really good angles when working to the outside. His hustle and instincts allowed him to be around the football all game long.
Runners Up: LB Asmar Bilal, Rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
PK Jonathan Doerer — 7 touchbacks/fair catches on 9 kickoffs
Doerer had an outstanding afternoon for the Irish. Seven of his nine kickoffs were either touchbacks or were fair caught. The other two pinned Navy at its own 18-yard line. The height he got on his kicks was impressive and he kept it in the corner throughout the game.
The junior placekicker made all seven of his extra point attempts and drilled a 32-yard field goal. Doerer is now 8-10 on field goals this season.
Runner Up: LB Bo Bauer