Notre Dame Takes Care Of Early Possessions In Win Vs. Navy
When playing against a triple-option team like Navy, it’s important to make every drive count, and that’s exactly what Notre Dame did.
The Fighting Irish scored on each of their first seven possessions in a 52-20 win — six touchdowns and a 32-yard field goal by junior kicker Jonathan Doerer. Quarterback Ian Book led each of those drives and took a seat on the bench after the seventh score. His day was done thanks to their commanding lead.
“Our offense is starting to roll,” Book said. “It's awesome. We've got ten other guys on the field that are playing for each other, and that's when you find success. I am definitely really confident, and this whole offense should be.”
In scoring seven times in a row, Notre Dame used a variety of different offensive styles. The first drive was slow and methodical, using a two-tight-end set and eating 5:21 off of the clock while running 11 plays.
The next three drives lasted less than 1:23 and resulted in six points.
One of those drives consisted of one play — a 70-yard touchdown to redshirt freshman wide receiver Braden Lenzy. The time of possession was nine seconds.
“As a quarterback obviously those are huge plays,” Book said. “Really, it's when you get those opportunities making the most of it. We got some guys that can really run on the outside. When Lenzy takes off it's my job to throw it and make sure I get it to him. When you hit big plays it just opens up your whole playbook, opens up a lot of things offensively for us.
“It's a huge part of the game. We were able to have that workout tonight.”
The last three scores with Book on the field took between two and three and a half minutes. On each, the offense ran seven or eight plays.
Shutting Down Perry When it Mattered
To start the game, Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry efficiently led his offense down the field.
In 10 plays, the Mids had gone nearly 50 yards and, if not for a fumble on the Notre Dame 27-yard line, would have likely scored on their first offensive possession. A Perry fumble also ended the next Navy offensive possession, but he still finished the first quarter with 11 carries for 54 yards, on pace for a 200 for the game.
Despite not putting any points on the board, Navy’s offense was dictating much of the tempo.
But with 1:30 left in the second quarter, Perry’s rushing total had decreased with 20 carries for 49 yards.
The Navy offense ran 10 plays during that time span and Notre Dame had a 38-0 lead.
“I thought after the first two drives, we started to shut it down and players had high energy,” said starting Notre Dame Mike linebacker Drew White. “We were flying around.”
This was due, at least in part, to another in-game defensive adjustment by Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Clark Lea.
“We were coming off the edge, just causing havoc and not letting them dictate what we're in,” White said. “We didn't want them to get into a certain formation that they knew how we were going to defend it. We were switching up the game playing a lot. Coach Lea did a great job. He does a great job every week making the opposing offensive coordinator not know what to do.”
If not for a 46-yard quarterback run by at the end of the half to set up a 27-yard field goal, Perry might not have crossed the 100-yard mark. He finished the game with 117 yards and no touchdowns on the ground or through the air.
Perry came into the matchup averaging 2.6 total touchdowns per game.