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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | Notre Dame 52 Navy 20

November 16, 2019

That couldn’t have gone much better for Notre Dame. It’s about as stress-free as a Navy game can get.

The execution on offense was virtually flawless. The defense allowed one explosive play to Malcolm Perry on the final drive of the first half, but the game was already over by that point. Before that they had created negative plays in big spots and made a good Navy offense look inept.

Chase Claypool was dominant. Ian Book was dominant. Khalid Kareem was dominant. Navy had not played a Power 5 program this season and when going against better athletes today, they were humbled.

Navy came into this game on upset alert, with maybe the best team they’ve had in the last couple of decades. Notre Dame showed big the gap between the programs can be when the Irish are playing well and they played very well today.

- Navy’s defense was disruptive before this game. Their Havoc Rate was over 20%. Their Havoc Rate in this game was 7.5%.

They barely sniffed Book today in the pocket despite sending blitzers frequently. Book’s patience paid off multiple times as well. If they can’t get to the quarterback, they don’t have the athletes to hold up in coverage.

Defensive coordinator Brian Newberry asked too much of his players today. They can get away with it versus Group of 5 opponents, but not Notre Dame. Six completions of over 20 yards or more were big in the game.

- That pass by Book to Braden Lenzy was the best deep ball Book has thrown in a Notre Dame uniform. And I know it’s Navy, but watch that play and tell me Lenzy didn’t look an awful lot like Will Fuller on that play. (You can’t)

- First half yards per play: Notre Dame 9.4. Navy 4.1.

- That first drive for Perry and Navy looked exactly how they wanted it to look until that tackle for loss that got them off-schedule. They still were able to convert on 4th down after that and had a big play set up on a reverse, but Kareem had different plans.

If he didn’t make that play on Perry to cause that fumble, it was likely going to be a tie ball game. That was the turning point in the game.

Two plays later Claypool was scoring on a deep post from the slot.

- The average tackles for loss per game against Navy was 5.13. Notre Dame had seven in the first half.

- Perry is incredibly talented. With a less talented quarterback, he would have been swallowed up by Notre Dame’s defense on numerous plays that he turned into positive gains.

Think about that for a second and then think about how Kareem did freakish things like poking the ball away from him after avoiding a cut block or how Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah beat a block and was still able to run Perry down. Or when Kyle Hamilton chased him down running from the other side of the formation.

Dudes from Tulane aren’t doing that against Navy.

Perry had that 46-yard run on the final drive of the first half. He averaged 2.95 yards per carry the other 24 times he ran with the football.

- If there is one player to single out other than Kareem, it would have to be Drew White. Greer Martini was known for how well he played against the option and White might leave Notre Dame with a similar reputation.

- Coming off of this game, I think we can say that the response from the players over the last few weeks has showed that they are resilient and working to get better. This team is actually playing better football in November than they have all season.

That’s atypical for a Brian Kelly team.

Every Irish fan wishes they were playing for more than double digit wins now, but if they continue to play well, then it’s going to be difficult for Notre Dame to not be included in a New Year’s Six bowl.

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