Navy-Notre Dame grades: Navy offense too much for Irish

The highest-graded players and biggest takeaways from Navy's win over Notre Dame.

| 8 months ago
(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Navy-Notre Dame grades: Navy offense too much for Irish

Navy Midshipmen 28, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 27

Here are the top takeaways for Navy’s 28-27 win over Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Quarterback grade: DeShone Kizer, 63.3

Accuracy all over the place for Kizer

The box score does not tell the story for Kizer, who had all day in the pocket (pressured four times on 31 dropbacks) and missed a number of open throws by a wide margin. His three touchdowns don’t tell the entire story as they came on a coverage bust, a screen, and a shallow crossing route in which wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown outran half of the Navy defense. Even on Kizer’s completions, his inaccuracy forced receivers to the ground on curl routes or led to one-handed catches on crossing routes. While Kizer did do a nice job of taking care of the ball with no turnover-worthy plays and he had a few strong runs leading to an 81.9 rushing grade, he finished at 58.2 as a passer in one of his worst games of the season.


Top offensive grades

C Sam Mustipher, 83.4
RT Alex Bars, 81.7
WR Torii Hunter Jr., 80.4
LT Mike McGlinchey, 80.2
LG Quenton Nelson, 78.8

Offensive line with a strong game in pass protection and in the run game

It’s no surprise to see a number of offensive linemen at the top as Kizer was rarely under pressure and they line often held up for over three seconds with plenty of room for him to throw. They also performed well in the run game, led by Nelson (83.8 run block grade) and McGlinchey (83.1 run block grade). In the pass game, Hunter Jr. was Kizer’s top option, catching eight of his nine targets for 104 yards and a score.

Top defensive grades

DI Isaac Rochell, 79.7
LB Greer Martini, 75.0
DI Jonathan Bonner, 73.6
DI Andrew Trumbetti, 71.1
ED James Onwualu, 70.4

Defense kept off balance by Navy triple-option attack

Another year of struggles for the Notre Dame defense against a triple-option attack. Having to find the ball in the backfield led to a number of bad angles by the defense and easy blocks for Navy blockers. The secondary’s poor play led to a number of big plays, led by safety Drue Tranquill struggling with four missed tackles. On a positive note, Rochell was strong at the point of attack while Martini made a number of key tackles throughout the game.


Quarterback grade: Will Worth, 68.2

It was a classic Navy quarterback performance for Worth, highlighted by good decisions and quick cuts in their triple-option system. He finished with 173 yards on 27 designed runs, including 86 yards and two touchdowns when he got to the right edge of the defense. Worth did fumble twice to hurt the grade, though he also fired just accurate passes to keep Notre Dame’s defense off-balance, including the game-clinching dig route.


Top offensive grades

RB Shawn White, 78.8
RB Dishan Romine, 78.7
C Parker Wade, 74.1
RT Andrew Wood, 71.2
WR Jamir Tillman, 70.7

Navy spreads the wealth in top-notch team effort on offense

Eight other players carried the ball besides Worth, picking up 149 yards on 26 carries (5.7 yards/attempt). That’s the story of the Navy offense who kept Notre Dame’s defense with their constant misdirection and smooth play-calling in the run game. The wide receivers are crucial as blockers in Navy’s system and Brandon Colon (77.0 run block grade) and Tyler Carmona (76.8 run block grade) both excelled on the edge. Fellow wide receiver Jamir Tillman caught four of his five targets for 41 yards as Navy’s top receiving option.


Top defensive grades

S Daiquan Thomasson, 74.3
S Sean Williams, 71.1
DI Jarvis Polu, 70.6
S Hudson Sullivan, 66.3
DI Patrick Forrestal, 66.2

Defense protected by offense, only out there for six possessions

With only six possessions for Notre Dame, the defense was protected by their offense who controlled the ball for much of the game. A blown coverage led to a dep passing touchdown in the first, and poor tackling led to the one in the second half. Among the positives, safety Daiquan Thomasson made a few key tackles and DI Jarvis Polu had a hit and a hurry on his 22 rushes. Even with the win, Navy’s defense did struggle to slow Notre Dame’s offense as they gave up four scores on only six possessions.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

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