Chase Claypool

No. 16 Notre Dame hammers No. 23 Navy

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The first Notre Dame-Navy game between ranked opponents did not live up to the hype. No. 16 Notre Dame used three first-half fumble recoveries to build a 38-0 second quarter lead, then cruised to a 52-20 win over No. 23 Navy.

The Irish accepted the ball to open the game and rolled 75 yards in 11 plays, as Ian Book found Chase Claypool for the first of four touchdowns, this one from seven yards out. Navy then responded by pushing to a 1st-and-10 at the Notre Dame 24, but quarterback Malcolm Perry committed the first of his three first-half fumbles and Book hit Claypool for a 47-yard touchdown two plays later, giving the Irish an insurmountable 14-0 lead at the 3:11 mark of the first quarter.

Perry was sacked and fumbled on Navy’s next touch, and the short-field drive ended the same way the first two did: a scoring strike from Book to Claypool, this one just a 3-yard toss.

In all, Notre Dame (8-2) scored on its first seven possessions, six of them touchdowns. Book closed the day 14-of-20 for 284 yards and five touchdowns, which is about what you’d expect him to put up practicing against the November air in South Bend. He also led the Irish on the ground with a modest 31 yards on nine carries, as Notre Dame mustered only 105 yards on the ground on 31 total carries. Claypool hauled in seven passes for 117 yards and four touchdowns.

Perry led all runners for 117 yards on 25 carries, but his three first half fumbles washed away much of that progress. As a team, Navy (7-2) ran for 281 yards, but needed 64 carries to get there, more than a yard and a half below the Middies’ yards per carry average (6.08) this season.

After dropping three of four meetings between 2007-10, Notre Dame has now won eight of nine in this series and four straight. The Irish lead the all-time series, 77-13-1.

No. 16 Notre Dame all over No. 21 Navy through one half

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When the Navy offense works, the clock bleeds, the ball ticks forward and life becomes living hell for the opponent. When it doesn’t, it can get ugly for the Midshipmen.

It’s been ugly through one half in South Bend.

No. 16 Notre Dame holds a 38-3 lead over No. 21 Navy at the half. The Fighting Irish scored all six times they touched the ball in the half, as Ian Book went a practice-like 11-of-14 for 209 yards with four touchdowns, three of them coming to Chase Claypool. Claypool caught six passes for 97 yards and scores of 47, seven and three yards.

Navy hasn’t been able to get the running game going — they run for just 131 yards on 33 carries — but three fumbles by quarterback Malcolm Perry have proven catastrophic, ending Navy scoring threats and leading directly to three Irish touchdowns. The Middies finally sustained a drive with a minute to play in the half, moving 72 yards in nine snaps to set up a 27-yard Bijan Nichols field goal as time expired.

Navy will receive to open the second half.

No. 7 Notre Dame capitalizes on special teams mistake by No. 3 Georgia to lead at halftime

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No. 3 Georgia may have been a big favorite against No. 7 Notre Dame coming into Saturday night’s contest of unbeaten teams, but it is the Fighting Irish who reach halftime with the lead. Notre Dame leads Georgia 10-7 at halftime.

Defense has been the theme of the game so far, which makes a mistake on special teams by Georgia even more a factor. Georgia punt returner Tyler Simmons muffed a punt return deep in the Georgia end of the field in the second quarter. Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool came swooping in to recover the live ball and gave the Irish field position at the Georgia eight-yard line. But it would take a fourth-down pass from Ian Book to Cole Kmet to get on the board. Kmet didn’t appear to be the intended receiver, but Notre Dame was happy to take it.

Georgia would respond to tie the game before halftime. On the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs got their running game going against the Irish defense. D’Andre Swift finished off a 12-play drive with a short touchdown run that was upheld by a video replay. Notre Dame had a quick answer in their pockets before halftime though, as Book completed four straight passes to move from the Notre Dame 25-yard line down to the Georgia 12-yard line. The Irish settled for a field goal in the final seconds of the half to take the lead.

Georgia did lose one of their big offensive linemen in the first half. Left Guard Solomon Kindley was carted off the field as Georgia was finishing off their touchdown drive. Earlier in the game, Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes was helped off the field at the end of a play as well.

Will Notre Dame continue to hang with Georgia in the second half, or will the Bulldogs find a way to take the lead and pull away for a big win?

Defense tops offense in Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game

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A second half shutout allowed the Gold to race past the Blue for a thrilling 58-45 win at Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game on Saturday.

If you’re wondering how a defensive struggle could see a 58-45 final score, well, welcome to the world of spring games.

Notre Dame’s defense was credited with FIFTEEN sacks on the day and closed the game by limiting the offense to three three-and-outs and three stops after the halftime gun, which somehow equated to 27 points for the Gold squad.

Despite the second half shutout leading to a devastating loss, Notre Dame’s offense still produced before Saturday’s crowd of 30,000-plus. Ian Book was 16-of-21 for 220 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Jafar Armstrong was the Blue’s star of the game, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown while compiling 71 receiving yards and another score (though he did have a costly fumble, forced by the Gold’s Jalen Elliott), while Jahmir Smith rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Chase Claypool caught four passes for 92 yards to lead all receivers.

On defense, Khalid Kareem led the bunch with three sacks, while Paul Moala added two sacks and a team-high nine tackles.

Notre Dame announced kick times for its 7-game home slate in 2019. The Irish’s home opener against New Mexico will kick at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 14. Virginia (Sept. 28) and Bowling Green (Oct. 5) kick at 3:30 p.m. ET, while USC (Oct. 12) is a 7:30 p.m. ET kick. Home dates against Virginia Tech (Nov. 2), Navy (Nov. 16) and Boston College (Nov. 23) all begin at 2:30 p.m. ET. All seven games will be televised on NBC.

No. 8 Notre Dame passes biggest test yet, top No. 7 Stanford as Irish remain undefeated

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Wake up the echoes, Notre Dame is for real.

The No. 8 Irish passed their biggest test of the young season to remain undefeated on Saturday night, using several big offensive plays to scoot past No. 7 Stanford 38-17 in yet another fantastic rivalry game under the lights in South Bend.

Quarterback Ian Book picked up where he left off last week against Wake Forest, making his first home start and quickly winning over the crowd with pinpoint passes all game long. He finished an efficient 24-of-33 for 278 yards and four touchdowns in an offense that really felt like they were hitting on all cylinders at times. Just as important as the signal-caller’s arm were his legs too, with Book scrambling for several nice pickups and extending many more. Miles Boykin had a breakout game with 144 receiving yards and a score but Chase Claypool, Alize Mack and Nic Weishar all found the end zone as well.

Those kinds of plays were helped in part by another impressive effort by the offensive line up front. They allowed only one sack and opened up several big holes for Irish backs to run through. Senior Dexter Williams made the most of his first touches of the year in the absence of Jafar Armstrong, rushing for 161 yards and breaking off a 45-yard touchdown run on the second series of the game. Tony Jones added a further 40 yards as the Irish recorded 272 yards on the ground all told.

The fast pace that Notre Dame got off to was nearly matched by the Cardinal before falling off as the second half wore on. QB K.J. Costello made several big-time throws in keeping his team in the game but began to falter once the clock ticked over to the final quarter. He finished the game with only 174 yards and a touchdown, while his late interception seemed to seal the result as his team failed to pull off a magical comeback for the second week in a row.

Maybe more concerning to head coach David Shaw was the status of his star running back Bryce Love, who limped off injured early in the fourth quarter. Last year’s Heisman runner-up rushed for 73 yards and showed his trademark burst on a touchdown run, but injured his ankle down the stretch and was taken to the locker room for further evaluation.

The victory now will see even more national attention focused on Notre Dame as they can put two of their toughest tests of the year behind them in wins against Michigan and, now, Stanford. The Irish do have a tricky trip to Blacksburg next week at Virginia Tech but the only ranked teams left on the docket could be late November tests against Syracuse and USC.

Some will say it’s still too early in the closing hours of September, but it’s very much time to start talking about Notre Dame making a run at the College Football Playoff in 2018.