Notre Dame and Navy traveled to San Diego to rekindle a rivalry. However, an efficient offense and a fundamentally sound defense allowed the Fighting Irish to make quick work of the Midshipmen, winning 44-22. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:
53 Sam Mustipher (6’2 306) Notre Dame OL-Senior
DraftNasty highlighted Mustipher in our season preview to begin the season and in 2018, the Fighting Irish senior lineman has remained a constant positive for the offense. Mustipher routinely finished blocks against Navy with a little extra force and he isn’t afraid to mix it up with defensive lineman that are his size or bigger. However, what makes Mustipher an NFL-caliber interior lineman is his ability to get to the second level quickly like he did against Navy linebacker Taylor Heflin (6'2 229). Mustipher was able to move Heflin out of the way with ease, paving the way for the team’s second rushing touchdown of the night. The Irish rank in the top third in the nation in passing yards, rushing yards and points per game and Mustipher’s expertise along the line is a huge reason why.
12 Ian Book (6’0 203) Notre Dame QB-Junior
Book has put together a five-game winning streak since he took over as the starting quarterback against Wake Forest. One of the reasons, head coach Brian Kelly moved on from senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush (6’2, 222) is because Book is more efficient in the passing game. Wimbush was pulled after tallying four interceptions and one touchdown in his three starts to begin the year. Since being named the starter, Book has thrown 13 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 76-percent of his passes. Book’s accuracy is on par with some of the best in college football, and his best throws against Navy came on a pair of back-shoulder throws to senior wide receiver Miles Boykin (6’4 228), which both resulted in touchdowns. Book has also rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns. The California native's mobility to evade the rush and his pinpoint accuracy should be enough continue to carry the Fighting Irish offense.
Notre Dame defense vs. Navy offense
The Midshipmen pride themselves on their triple option offensive attack but against the Irish they couldn’t get anything going. Notre Dame jumped out to a 27-0 advantage in the first half and by that point the Midshipmen were too far behind to make a difference. The Fighting Irish defensive line routinely overpowered Navy’s front five. The defensive line was able to keep senior linebacker Te’von Coney (6’1 240) clean of blockers and allow him to make 14 tackles. As a whole, the defense forced three turnovers and four three-and- outs. If the Fighting Irish can stick to the assignment football that won them the game against Navy, then they should be able to continue to challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff.