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Notre Dame Football: The Thrill of the Chase

Chase Claypool’s career day torpedo’s Navy.

Avast and shiver me timbers! In what felt like an M. Night Shyamalan twist, the Navy game was the most comfortable victory of the entire season. Notre Dame scored on their first seven drives on Saturday, an unheard of level of dominance in a Notre Dame Fighting Irish / Navy Midshipmen game. Not only is it the only time in series history, that I can find, where the Irish scored on their first seven drives, it’s the only time the Irish scored on seven straight drives at any point against Navy. I can even show my work!

  • 2018- 44-22, Scored on first two drives, punted on third.
  • 2015 - 41-24, Opened the game with a 3 and out. It was 24-21 at half!
  • 2014 - 49-39, Scored on first four drives before Golson went 2014 Golson and threw a pick.
  • 2012 - 50-10, Scored on first three drives, though they did score on Navy’s fourth drive...
This WAS the most satisfying defensive score against Navy...
  • 1996- 54-27, The Irish scored 54 in Ireland but got off to a slow start only up 21-7 at half.
  • 1994- 58-21, Powlus was knocked out for two series off in the second quarter that resulted in stalled drives.
  • 1993- 58-27, The Irish punted midway in the second quarter before reeling off 6 straight scores.
  • 1990- 52-31, Similar to ‘93 in that the Irish were forced to punt in the second quarter(only punt of the game) and then rifled off 6 straight scores.
  • 1987- 56-13, Drive charts are gone but thank god for the archives!

The only game I can find past 1987 that might possibly include 7 straight scores to open the game, would be 1970, but sadly I couldn’t find a drive chart for Theismann’s 56-6 Philadelphia homecoming.

Captain Claypool takes no prisoners.

The hero of Saturday, would definitely be Canada’s own, Chase Claypool. The Maple Bandit was the Maple Pirate for one Saturday, as he took no prisoners en route to a four touchdown performance. Let’s GIF right to it shall we?

Send ‘em to Bob Davie Jones locker!
Thirty seconds in, Chase is already setting the tone by displaying phenomenal body control to bend around the defender and sprint down the sideline.
A beautifully designed play with Chase in the slot, gets him his first score of the afternoon. Claypool not being denied getting to the edge is going to be a theme.
An NFL throw from Ian Book and an NFL catch from Claypool. Book didn’t wait for Claypool to get open, it was a good sign to see him just step and rip it, trusting Claypool to get separation. And separation he got, as his top end speed is on full display.
Once more, Chase is able to find the edge and this time show off his footwork as he tip toes down the line for a first down.
This angle was perfect to highlight the immense concentration and hand-eye coordination Chase needed to catch his third touchdown of the afternoon. The Navy defender had a hand in there, the back shoulder throw was a smidgen inside and somehow Chase is able to make the catch. Beautiful.
Let’s take a break in the Claypool action as some other receivers had some 2019 mixtape worthy catches as well. Braden Lenzy catches a touchdown, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Will Fuller. I also do not believe I’ve ever seen Ian Book throw the ball in the air that far. More of that please.
This pass to Lawrence Keys is important for a couple of reasons. First off, nice on Keys for staying with the play and making a spectacular sideline catch. Secondly, we saw this situation a lot this year, usually Ian would run out of bounds and take a short loss on the play. It was nice to see him take a risk with the ball. Which goes back to the coaching staffs comments after the Virginia Tech game of Book taking more risks.
Ian Book’s best throw and decision of the afternoon. He had Kmet open underneath... All year he would have taken the free yards from Kmet, in the GIF you can even see him look at Kmet. But he recognizes if he throws the ball damn near 40 yards in the air to a spot, Finke will get it. Legit.
Chase Claypool doing Chase Claypool things to get his fourth touchdown of the afternoon. He truly has been an absolute treat to watch this season.

X Marks the Spot

Clark Lea has done it, he found the map. He has solved the triple option! In the last two games against Navy, Notre Dame has allowed 3 points combined in the first half's. Notre Dame has forced 6 Navy turnovers in that span, Navy had turned the ball over just 5 times in the five years before that(2013-2017). What he’s done to Navy on third down is also remarkable.

  • 2019- 5/16 31.25% conversion rate
  • 2018- 2/12 16.67% conversion rate
  • 2010-2017- 57/113 45% conversion rate

It sure would be nice if Clark Lea stuck around for a bit wouldn’t it? It is really nice to have what was being sold as a really good Navy offense, come into Notre Dame stadium and get absolutely worked over. Not only all that, thanks to Clark Lea’s domination of the triple option, Paul Moala made real the dream of every Irish fan during a Navy game, to snatch the pitch and take it to the mother flippin’ house, it had me out of my seat pumping my fist!