clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Notre Dame Football: The Irish dazzle in Ireland; beat Navy 42-3

The boys are in fact back and they are definitely looking for trouble.

Notre Dame v Navy - Aer Lingus College Football Classic Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

“Wake up to reality, nothing ever goes as planned in this accursed world.” - Madara Uchiha. While I know most of you don’t know Naruto or don’t care to know it. But I think this quote from my favorite show of all time applies perfectly. We all know from a Notre Dame/college football perspective - rarely if ever does anything come together exactly the way you had hoped. Even on the best of days, we all know there is plenty to point at and complain about. Add on top of that this was the first game of the season, in Ireland, against Navy and you’re trying out an OC for the first time. Those are things that are extremely likely to railroad a game plan on their own, let alone all combined. But it didn’t. For Notre Dame, you couldn’t have scripted a better way to start the season. Yes, this was a weaker Navy squad, but you did exactly what you needed to do in every single facet of the game. There isn’t a box in my head that was not checked after yesterday. Yes, they will need to do this against better competition as the season goes along to fully convince me. But if I had made a list of what I would like to have seen beforehand, that list would’ve been met and more.

Hey, we’ve got a guy.

Notre Dame v Navy - Aer Lingus College Football Classic Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

I’m sure this was a lot of our living rooms/households yesterday but we love some Sam Hartman. My wife is sitting there talking about how handsome he is - and my sister, my dad and I are going on gushing about the spots he was dropping the ball in at. You would’ve thought this guy had been going to Notre Dame since he was a freshman. 19-23 251 yds and 4 tds? Considering the team you were playing against I couldn’t have asked for better. The best part about all of it is I feel Hartman and this offense didn’t need to show almost any of their hand. Without having to dive deep into the playbook Hartman (and his receivers, which I’ll get to) did exactly what you should do against a Navy squad of this caliber. Meticulously and methodically pick them apart through the air. That sounds simple but as we all know, doing what you should do against lower competition hasn’t always come easy for this team or its QB position. He brought a sense of calm, control, and leadership to an offense and a team whose only missing piece of late may have been just that presence at the QB position. The guy was already grinning 50 seconds into the game after his first completion to Thomas. As with all of this praise, it comes with the caveat that it was against Navy whose defense is especially bad. But I’ll keep harping on it; you did what you needed to do and it’s got me real excited going forward.

Pssst. The guy has guys.

Notre Dame v Navy - Aer Lingus College Football Classic Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Not only does this team have a QB, but the skilled positions around him are filled with players who look like they could be absolutely huge. Jaden Greathouse hopefully put the Notre Dame freshman WR myth to bed with his arrival party. Jayden Thomas continues to look like he’s going to be a big presence (literally) down the field. Not only that but - I LOVE AUDRIC ESTIMEEEE!! No, but in all seriousness he showed why he is the player I was most excited to watch on the offense outside of Hartman heading into this season. The only black mark was his fumble which he has to hold on to. I’m not going to hold it against him too much since he was probably surprised at just how easily he ran over the 2 Navy DBs that came up to tackle him. As with Hartman, the stats weren’t eye-popping but they were great. If that even makes sense. I think it speaks more to the performance the players put in yesterday. They scored on every possession except for the end of the game and the missed FG (which was pretty bad we’ve got to keep an eye on that) which is all you can ask for. They didn’t have to dig into the playbook or pull out all the stops. They did what they needed to do, they did it efficiently and they did it very well. Everybody got theirs for the most part and I think it was very enjoyable as an observer and a fan. Once again, we have to see the progression as the season goes along, but I’m looking forward to it that’s for sure.

Just do your job.

Notre Dame v Navy - Aer Lingus College Football Classic Photo By Ben McShane/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The defense followed a lot of the same script from last year and got the job done. The opening drive from Navy was a tad shaky but in the end, they held them to just a field goal. I had predicted one touchdown so they surpassed my expectations. The issue is this was the first game and it was against Navy. Defensively it’s hard to get much of a useful view when you play against the Midshipmen. Nothing is the way it’s going to be the rest of the season for those 60 minutes. Even statistically it’s difficult to derive a lot of useful information. My bar was one touchdown and they allowed 3 points, in my book they get an A and we move on.

Aer Lingus College Football Classic - Notre Dame v Navy Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Due to the nature of this year’s schedule, we are all going to need to pay special attention these next few weeks heading into Ohio St. You can say what you want about NC State but overall it’s a bit of a weaker opening schedule than we may be used to. I don’t think it’s a bad thing but if things go the way they hope - the Irish will hopefully only have to open up the playbook a bit for the NC State game before playing Ohio St. That means I’ll be looking for the next few weeks to have similar energy as yesterday. Excited, and confident but also calm, methodical, and efficient. My primary focus will be on the defense. Since defense is super hard to read against Navy, playing against some “traditional” offenses is going to give us a bit more insight into that side of the ball. Even if the opponents aren’t quite world-breakers. I think we can all take solace in knowing this team is 1-0 and showed us just about everything we could ask for.