The Irish Passing Game vs. Navy’s Secondary
This matchup has the potential to be one of the biggest mismatches on the field Saturday. There’s no question that Ian Book has elevated the passing game of the Irish offense. When he plays well, there isn’t much defenses can do to slow him or the receivers down. However, as we saw against Pittsburgh, he is human and makes mistakes. Even though he has the highest completion percentage of any quarterback in the country, he’s thrown three interceptions in the last two games and has struggled with his deep ball accuracy.
Thankfully, the secondary of Navy is not very good, giving up over 250 yards through the air per game. They are susceptible to getting burned deep and have had to deal with replacing both starting cornerbacks from last season.
Senior Jarid Ryan will be playing on the outside after converting from his safety spot last year. In 2018 he only has 19 tackles, but has already snagged three interceptions. Opposite of him will be senior Khaylan Williams and freshman Michael McNorris.
At the safety position, sophomore Jake Springer and senior Sean Williams will anchor the back end of the defense at the safety positions. Williams was an honorable mention All-AAC pick in 2017 and has made 25 starts and recorded over 200 tackles in his career. Williams will be definitely be the player to watch in the secondary. His 6-1, 200-pound frame makes him an ideal matchup for support covering the tall, physical Claypool and Boykin.
Notre Dame has the edge in speed and play-making ability when it comes to their receivers and this could be another great opportunity for Chris Finke to continue to add to his career year. If Book is given time and plays like he did against Wake Forest and Stanford, there’s no reason why he can’t put up over 400 yards through the air.