There was football in South Bend on Saturday. Notre Dame’s annual Blue-Gold Game shed a little light on what fans can expect to see in 2018.
Football has returned to Notre Dame stadium. Typing those words warms my heart, which is much-needed during this Midwest “Spring.”
While we’re still 133 days away from the 2018 opener against Michigan, the Blue-Gold serves as a bridge between seasons and gives Irish fans the dose of Notre Dame football they long for during the off-season.
It was an overcast day in South Bend with the temperature in the low 50’s. This may have had some effect on the relatively low attendance at the game.
All eyes were on the quarterbacks this afternoon. Brandon Wimbush, the presumed starter, took all of his reps with the first-team offense while Ian Book worked with the second team.
And speaking of Wimbush…
Offensive MVP: Brandon Wimbush
I can feel the eye-rolls of a faction of the Notre Dame fan base as I type those words. Wimbush’s performance in 2017 (especially in the passing game) was far from consistent. It appeared as if his confidence was shook towards the end of the season, which lead to increased playing time for Ian Book.
It is precisely because of the questions surrounding Brandon Wimbush heading into the off-season that I named him the Offensive MVP of the Blue-Gold game. Aside from a couple of bad decisions and throws, he played at a very high level today.
Wimbush finished the game with 341 yards and 2 TDs on 19-33 passing. He threw one interception (Jalen Elliott) that was largely the result of pressure by Khalid Kareem.
Overall, Wimbush showed great accuracy on a variety of different throws. His first touchdown was a deep ball to Miles Boykin for 64 yards. On the play, Wimbush threw the ball about 50 yards off of his back foot.
Even more impressive, the touchdown came on the possession immediately following his interception. He didn’t allow his mistake to shake his confidence.
Honorable Mention: Chase Claypool, Miles Boykin, and Dexter Williams
Although he was running with the second team most of the afternoon, Chase Claypool had a very impressive afternoon. He scored the first touchdown on the game on a deep ball from Ian Book. Claypool had to work back and high-point the ball on the play. After securing the catch, he broke a tackle and ran 35 yards to the end zone. He later added a 5-yard touchdown reception from Brandon Wimbush.
Miles Boykin looked like a viable number one receiving option. He only had three catches, but he made the most of them. He finished with 132 yards and a touchdown.
Dexter Williams was two plays away from being my Offensive MVP. On a carry inside the redzone, he bounced outside and was headed for the pylon before he lost his footing. Later in the game, Williams broke off a 75-yard run that appeared to be destined for the endzone, but he was chased down by cornerback/track athlete Troy Pride.