Notre Dame Football: Offensive Grades – Navy Week


It wasn’t the best looking victory for Notre Dame, which is why we probably dropped two spots on the AP poll to No.8, but they got the job done defeating Navy 49 to 39.

For some reason, the Irish always struggle to compete against the Midshipmen’s option offense despite playing the same offense every single week. While Notre Dame struggled to contain Navy’s offense, the Irish offense was even better led by Everett Golson’s six touchdowns. Across the board, the offense played well when it needed to the most.

Offensive Line: A-

From the first play of the game, the offensive line let the Navy front seven know they were the more dominant big men. In 39 rush attempts, Notre Dame gained an impressive 218 yards along with giving the backfield  chance to score four rushing touchdowns. At times, the Midshipmen disrupted the offense bringing pressure up the middle forcing Golson to scramble and force a couple of passes, but the offensive line held their ground picking it up in the fourth quarter allowing the offense to outscore the midshipmen 21 to 7. The line also managed to keep Golson upright for the majority of the game conceiving just one sack.

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Running Backs: A

The A goes straight to Tarean Folston’s efforts. The only running back effective against the Midshipmen carried the ball 20 times for a career-high 149 yards for a touchdown. A lot of his success can be credited to the great play of the offensive line, but there’s no way you can ignore how tough of a runner Folston was against Navy. Along with his persistence to gain the extra yards, Folston’s vision was superb. He never shot out of the backfield when given the ball instead he took his time when carrying the ball allowing his line to create the holes for him. As a sophomore, Folston has solidified his spot as the featured rusher in the Irish backfield.

Wide Receiver: B+

No receiver had a standout game, but every receiver was able to separate themselves from the Navy secondary and make themselves available for Golson. Eight different players caught a pass from Golson, but only one receiver, tight end Ben Koyack caught more than three passes hauling in five catches for 54 yards and a score. Will Fuller, Notre Dame’s number one receiver, was relatively quiet catching three passes for just 16 yards and a touchdown. Golson stole the show, but in order to beat Arizona State, the Irish receivers are going to have to make much more of an impact.

Everett Golson: A

Golson made a serious case as to why he should be considered for the Heisman scoring six touchdowns for the Irish against the Midshipmen. The one stain in his statistics is his number of turnovers in the last five games. He’s thrown at least one interceptions in each of his last five contests including against Navy. One of his touchdowns also started off as a near-turnover fumbling the hand-off to Folston, but he was able to pick it up, find an opening and score the touchdown with his legs. Outside of those two incidents, Golson played a pretty good game finishing with a QBR of 96. Golson also became the first Irish to score three touchdowns through the air and three touchdowns on the ground, which further gives reason for the Heisman voters to seriously consider Golson for the award. If Golson can eliminate the turnovers, I don’t think there is a defense in the upcoming schedule that can stop him.