Notre Dame and Navy have traded blows on the scoreboard in the first half in Jacksonville, with the Irish holding the edge at halftime with a 17-14 lead.
Notre Dame had a bit of a health scare for wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., who was assisted off the field with an apparent left knee injury, but he was later returned to the field and provided a key block on Notre Dame’s late first-half touchdown to take the lead.
Notre Dame opened the game with a well-executed offensive drive spanning 83 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. The drive included a fourth down conversion with DeShone Kizer completing a 23-yard pass to Hunter to move into the reds zone. Two false start penalties later, Kizer completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Hunter for an early touchdown lead. Kizer’s two touchdown passes in the half have gone to Hunter and Durham Smythe. Kizer has also contributed on the ground with 46 rushing yards, and Josh Adams leads the team with 47 rushing yards.
Notre Dame has committed four penalties for 30 yards so far, while Navy has yet to be flagged. Navy quarterback Will Worth leads all players with 101 rushing yards, which is pretty typical for Navy’s offense.
DeShone Kizer has thrown two touchdowns in the first half to help give Notre Dame a 20-7 advantage on visiting Miami. The defense of the Irish has played one of the best halves of the season against Brad Kaaya and the Hurricanes, holding Miami to just three rushing yards.
Notre Dame started off as well as they could have dreamed, with a touchdown drive to open the game for an early lead. Kizer connected with Torii Hunter Jr. from the five-yard line for the score. Miami’s offense then lost eight yards on a three-and-out on their first drive, setting Notre Dame up with a great chance to do some more early damage. Notre Dame was held to a field goal, but the defense then picked off Kaaya on Miami’s third down on the ensuing possession. This time, Notre Dame cashed in with a touchdown with Kaaya finding Equanimeous St. Brown from 14 yards out.
Miami did catch one break in the first half on special teams by recovering a fumble by Hunter Jr. that led to a Miami touchdown a few plays later (Kaaya completing a pass to David Njoku for the score). But that has been just about all Miami has managed to do against Notre Dame so far. Miami has been flagged six times for 55 yards too.
When Everett Golson was readmitted to Notre Dame, the quarterback had to prove himself all over again.
Golson started 11 games in 2012, including the BCS National Championship Game, but he wasn’t handed the starting position upon his return. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly eventually named Golson the team’s starting quarterback Aug 13. Since then, Golson has grown into a legitimate leader within the program.
Kelly discussed Golson’s evolving status as a leader and updated the team’s injury situation during his Tuesday meeting with the media:
Former four-star recruit Torii Hunter Jr. wasn’t expected to make a big impact as part of Notre Dame’s wide receiver corps this season, but he could have potentially worked his way into the team’s rotation and provided repetitions as a slot receiver. Instead, he’ll miss four to six weeks due to a Grade 3 groin tear, according to CSNChicago.com’s J.J. Stankevitz.
Hunter — the son of Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter Sr. — will receive three platelet-rich plasma injections during his rehabilitation.
The injury is obviously a setback for the young receiver. He’ll now miss the rest of fall camp and the start of the season. It will be difficult for him to earn games reps once he’s fully healthy with upperclassmen DaVaris Daniels, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle atop the depth chart. And there is plenty of competition between the talented young receivers behind the projected starters.
Hunter missed all of last season with a broken leg. The upcoming season could prove to be another lost season after missing a month or more of integral practice time.