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Notre Dame Football: Brandon Wimbush vs. Past Irish QBs Holiday, Quinn, Clausen, Rees, Golson & Kizer

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How did Wimbush’s game against Ball State stack up against other recent Irish quarterbacks at this point in their careers?

Mike Miller / One Foot Down

This is a update to last week’s look at how Brandon Wimbush compares to six of his predecessors — DeShone Kizer, Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn and Carlyle Holiday — at the same point in their careers.

There were 72 offensive plays run against the Ball State Cardinals, with Wimbush under center for 71 of those plays and Ian Book calling the shots for just one play.

Wimbush entered the game having run 803 plays for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He exits the game having run 873 plays.

Here’s the stat lines for the six we’re studying in that specific range. (Note: These don’t correspond to a single game because we’re using Wimbush’s experience and applying it to these past quarterbacks’ careers.)

Holiday: 17-of-32 (53.1 percent), 193 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 time sacked.

The Irish gained just 87 yards on 39 running plays (2.23 yards per rush). Holiday accounted for all 12 of their first downs (he passed for 9 and ran for the other 3). He fumbled once, but it was recovered by Notre Dame.

Holiday averaged 11.4 yards per completion and 6 yards per attempt.

Holiday’s range was 31 plays during the 2002 Michigan State Spartans game (a game during which he suffered a shoulder injury), and 40 plays during the Pittsburgh Panthers game. Both were wins.

Quinn: 10-for-25 (40 percent) for 169 yards, 3 touchdowns (including Quinn’s first career running TD), 1 interception, 1 fumble lost and two times sacked.

The Irish gained 169 yards on 46 running plays, for an average of 3.7 yards per rushing attempt. Notre Dame managed 17 first downs, but Quinn accounted for just seven of those (six pass, one run). He averaged 16.9 yards per completion and 6.8 yards per attempt.

The range for Quinn was 27 plays during the 2004 Michigan Wolverines game and the first 44 plays of the Michigan State game. Both were wins.

Here’s Quinn’s awesome naked bootleg:

Clausen: 29-of-43 (67.4 percent) for 321 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles, 2 times sacked.

The Irish managed 89 yards rushing on 28 rushing attempts, for an average of 3.2 yards per rush. Notre Dame earned 19 total first downs (13 via pass, 2 via Jimmy’s legs) and Clausen averaged 11.1 yards per completion and 7.5 yards per attempt.

Clausen’s range encompassed 44 snaps during the 2008 Stanford Cardinal game and 27 snaps during the North Carolina Tar Heels the following week. The Irish beat the Cardinal, but lost to the Tarheels on the road.

Here’s a beautiful 48-yard touchdown pass from Clausen to Michael Floyd, which was play #806 of Jimmy’s Irish career.

Rees: 16-of-27 (59.3 percent) for 188 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, zero times sacked.

These Irish managed 233 yards rushing on 44 attempts (5.3 yards per rush attempt), 24 total first downs (10 via pass and one via Tommy’s legs). Rees averaged 11.8 yards per completion and 7 yards per attempt.

Rees range was 12 plays during the 2011 game against the Navy Midshipmen and 59 plays against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons the following week.

The Irish won both of those games.

Here’s the Rees Play #824, where the Demon Deacons inexplicably decide against covering tight end Tyler Eifert. Touchdown.

Golson: 24-for-37 (64.9 percent) for 231 yards, 3 touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing), 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles, 4 times sacked.

The Irish managed just 97 rushing yards on 34 attempts (2.9 yards/attempt) in this range. They had 20 first downs (14 from Golson’s arm, one from his legs). Golson averaged 9.6 yards per completion and 6.2 yards per attempt.

The range was 21 plays during the 2014 Michigan game and 50 plays of the Shamrock Series game against the Purdue Boilermakers. Both were wins.

Here’s Golson Play #859 — dropping a 38-yard bomb to Corey Robinson to set up Notre Dame’s second touchdown right before halftime.

Kizer: 23-of-34 (67.6 percent) for 316 yards, 5 touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing), 2 interceptions, one time sacked.

The Irish rushed for 178 yards on 37 attempts (4.8 yards/rush attempt) and earned 19 total first downs (13 via Kizer’s arm). Kizer averaged 13.7 yards per completion and 9.3 yards per attempt.

Kizer’s range was 28 plays during the 2016 game against the Nevada Wolf Pack and 43 plays against Michigan State the following week. The Irish won the home opener vs. Nevada easily, but then lost the following weekend to a team that would eventually go 3-9.

Here is Kizer Play #841, which is probably the best RPO I’ve ever seen the Irish run. It went for 48 yards thanks to a Kizer to Equanimeous St. Brown connection.

Wimbush: 17-for-31 (54.8 percent) for 297 yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 0 fumbles lost, four times sacked.

The Irish gained 120 yards on the ground on 40 attempts (3 yards/attempt) and managed 20 first downs total (13 via Wimbush’s arm and one extra from his legs). Wimbush averaged 17.5 yards per completion, and 9.6 yards per attempt.

CAREER COMPARISON

Notre Dame Quarterback Statistical Comparison

Quarterback HOLIDAY QUINN CLAUSEN REES GOLSON KIZER WIMBUSH
Quarterback HOLIDAY QUINN CLAUSEN REES GOLSON KIZER WIMBUSH
Run 626 457 441 415 474 474 540
Pass 247 416 432 458 399 399 333
Yds gained from run 2,448 1,906 1,129 2,109 2,241 2,501 3,281
Yds gained from pass 1,432 2,388 2,622 3,207 3,076 3,495 2,354
Total 3,880 4,294 3,751 5,316 5,317 5,996 5,635
First downs 184 191 190 260 265 260 231
First downs by pass 65 100 113 155 148 148 100
First downs by QB run 43 17 13 7 28 38 44
% of 1Ds accounted for 58.7% 61.3% 66.3% 62.3% 66.4% 71.5% 62.3%
% of 1D runs accounted for by QB 36.1% 18.7% 16.9% 6.7% 23.9% 33.9% 33.6%
Touchdowns 23 29 28 50 39 59 48
Touchdowns thrown 5 13 20 29 16 30 17
Touchdowns thrown % of all TDs 21.7% 44.8% 71.4% 58.0% 41.0% 50.8% 35.4%
Touchdowns run 18 16 8 21 23 29 31
Touchdowns run by QB 3 1 2 0 10 13 14
% of total TDs that were run by QB 13.0% 3.4% 7.1% 0.0% 25.6% 22.0% 29.2%
TDs by QB (arm or legs) 8 14 22 29 26 43 31
TDs by QB as % of total TDs 34.8% 48.3% 78.6% 58.0% 66.7% 72.9% 64.6%
Interceptions 9 19 12 18 6 12 10
Interceptions per attempt 3.6% 4.6% 2.8% 3.9% 1.5% 3.0% 3.0%
Fumbles 22 15 23 15 15 16 8
Fumbles lost 12 5 12 7 8 9 5
Fumbles by QB 14 6 7 7 8 5 8
Fumbles lost by QB 6 3 3 5 4 2 5
QB carries (including sacks) 198 59 82 30 117 164 178
Fumbles lost per QB carry 3.0% 5.1% 3.7% 16.7% 3.4% 1.2% 2.8%
Sacks 32 17 40 7 20 24 29
Sacked per pass attempt 13.0% 4.1% 9.3% 1.5% 5.0% 6.0% 8.7%
Completions 125 199 252 293 242 254 168
Completion % 50.6% 47.8% 58.3% 64.0% 60.7% 63.7% 50.5%
Yards per comp 11.5 12.0 10.4 10.9 12.7 13.8 14.0
Yards per attempt 5.8 5.7 6.1 7.0 7.7 8.8 7.1
Through 873 plays

OVERALL OFFENSIVE PROWESS

Notre Dame Offensive Rankings

Year Quarterback(s) Rushing Offense Rank Passing Offense Rank Total Offense Rank Offensive S&P+ Rank
Year Quarterback(s) Rushing Offense Rank Passing Offense Rank Total Offense Rank Offensive S&P+ Rank
2000 Battle, Godsey, Lovecchio 213.55 15 132.18 109 345.73 76 n/a n/a
2001 LoVecchio, Holiday 188.18 30 101.55 114 289.73 110 n/a n/a
2002 Holiday, Dillingham 139.38 68 174.15 91 313.54 108 n/a n/a
2003 Quinn, Holiday 157.25 56 179.08 92 336.33 90 n/a n/a
2004 Quinn, Dillingham 127.42 85 218.08 54 345.5 81 n/a n/a
2007 Clausen, Sharpley, Jones 75.25 115 167 110 242.25 119 15.8 117
2008 Clausen, Sharpley 109.69 100 245.38 34 355.08 65 23.2 83
2010 Crist, Rees, Montana 126.62 92 253.08 34 379.69 61 35.6 16
2011 Rees, Hendrix, Crist 160.38 54 252.62 40 413 35 36.3 14
2012 Golson, Rees 189.38 38 222.77 71 412.15 54 35.2 21
2014 Golson, Zaire 159.5 68 285.5 18 444.9 32 36.8 21
2015 Zaire, Kizer, Wimbush 207.6 28 258.8 35 466.4 27 41.2 11
2016 Kizer, Zaire 163.3 80 254.3 48 417.6 62 34.4 36
2017 Wimbush, Book 269.3 7 178.9 102 448.2 27 33.6 24
2018 Wimbush, Book 194.8 47 246 59 441.7 45 34.8 32