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Irish Escape With a Win Over Navy

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

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Written By Nick Kremer, Editor for The Irish Tribune

Notre Dame traveled to Baltimore to take on Navy following their big win over Clemson. The Irish seemed to continue their momentum from the previous week as they dominated Navy in the first half. The second half was an entire different story, as the Irish barely escaped with a 35-32 win.

Photo Credit - Chicago Tribune

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☘️ 1st Half Offense

In the first half, Drew Pyne was on pace to have a career day as the Notre Dame starting QB. Pyne was 14/16 for 234 yards with 4 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. Pyne looked confident and was making some impressive throws that he had not made earlier in the season.

The running game was solid in the first half, but nothing like we have come to expect from this unit. To be fair, Navy came into the game with the number 7 rushing defense in the country. Estime finished the game with 8 carries for 49 yards (6.1 YPC), and Logan Diggs finished with 13 carries for 31 yards (2.4 YPC).

One of the biggest surprises of the day was the emergence of Braden Lenzy. Lenzy had one of the most impressive catches of the year as he hauled in a 38 yard touchdown. Lenzy caught the ball behind the defenders back in the endzone, basically having to hug the defender to get his hands on the ball. Lenzy finished the day with 5 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. Jayden Thomas also had an impressive day with 3 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.

☘️ Big Plays

Clarence Lewis made the play of the game on defense. Navy was driving in the 2nd quarter, and had all the momentum to tie up the game. Navy called a half-back pass that would have gone for a TD, but Clarence Lewis came across the field to make a phenomenal interception. This led to a quick Notre Dame score and a 14 point swing.

Brian Mason continues to work his magic as the Special Teams coach for the Irish. Somehow, Notre Dame was able to block another punt in this game. How Brian Mason is accomplishing this on a weekly basis is nothing short of incredible, and is an enormous advantage. It is safe to say that we would not have won some of our games without our Special Teams play.

Photo Credit - ND Insider

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☘️ 2nd Half Collapse

The Notre Dame offense, after an incredible first half performance, completely collapsed in the 2nd half of this football game. The Irish had 6 offensive drives in the second half that produced an abysmal 2 yards of offense. At some point, we have to be concerned about the fact that our offense is being out-played in the 3rd quarter of games. Are the opposing defensive coaches making the perfect adjustments? Is Tommy Rees and the offensive staff making the proper adjustments? Something is not clicking when this team comes out of the locker room at the half.

Tommy Rees shows phenomenal football knowledge. He shows the ability to put together a good game plan that can win football games. Rees and the offense showcase good route combinations, formations with varying motions, and a mix of unexpected play calls. However, does Rees respond well after the defense makes adjustments? The answer to that is unclear for this season, but it was not good in this game.

In the second half, Navy continuously brought the same pressures from the perimeter, mainly from the back side. Blitz after blitz, Rees continued to call drop-back pass plays with a quarterback that has struggled throwing the ball all season. You can argue that Pyne should have gotten rid of the ball quicker, or hit a check down, but what part of his game this season has shown that he can do that efficiently? It was evident that Navy would be bringing pressure and running cover 0.

Rees could have, and should have, done more to help his young QB in that situation. He could have called a running-back screen, or a wide-receiver screen/bubble to help slow the rush. Even a quick slant/out/drag to get the ball out of Pyne’s hands would have helped. On the flip side, Pyne needs to stop holding on to the ball for so long, and the entire team needs to execute better for four quarters.

Photo Credit - Indy Star

☘️ Overall, the Irish were able to escape the game with a win, which is always a good thing. However, this game showed us that this team still has a lot to improve on going forward, and a positive finish is crucial for Freeman's coaching debut.


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