Notre Dame’s 4 Horsemen of the Week: Texas ’16

Equanimeous St. Brown
Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

We’re giving our weekly Notre Dame players of the week a little twist this season.  Instead of the “Shamrock Stickers” we’ve handed out in the past, we’ll be doing a weekly “4 Horsemen” ranking of the four best players of the week.

Each week we’ll rank the players of the game for the Irish and award points to them based on their ranking: the “first Horseman” will get 40 points, and the “fourth Horseman” will get 10.  Throughout the year we’ll have a standings updated each week as well.

This week’s is tough to write following such a heartbreaking loss to start the season, but despite the negative outcome, there were a few positives for the Irish.

4. Shaun Crawford

One of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal defensive performance was the starting debut of Shaun Crawford.  Despite getting beat deep once – what defensive back didn’t – Crawford was strong in his debut and picked up his first career interception in the third quarter.  In addition to his pick, Carwford also scooped up Jarron Jones’ blocked extra point and raced down the field to tie the game at 37 after Texas took the lead with just under 3:30 remaining.

3. CJ Sanders

Sanders was his Mr. Everything self on Sunday night with 3 catches for 55 yards including a 25 yard touchdown on Notre Dame’s first play in the first OT.  Sanders also added a 40 yard punt return in the fourth quarter that set up a Notre Dame scoring drive.  He wasn’t quite as effective on kick returns with a long of just 26 – and he got plenty of tries after all the scoring from Texas.  Still, Sanders showed his versatility and playmaking ability in the loss and made a case for more targets to come his way moving forward.

2. Equanimeous St. Brown

ESB had a pretty darn good starting debut with five catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.  Both of his scores came on great plays from the sophomore as well.  On his first, St. Brown got his foot down on a beautifully thrown ball by Deshone Kier.  On his second, Kizer hit St. Brown in stride before getting hit in the legs by a Texas defender and summersaulting into the end-zone for the acrobatic touchdown.  If Notre Dame loses Torii Hunter for next week following the vicious hit that knocked the senior out of the game, Notre Dame will need an even bigger performance out of ESB next week.  Sunday night’s starting debut, however, was a very strong debut.

1. Deshone Kizer

The question all off-season was who would be the starting quarterback for Notre Dame.  The question wasn’t answered until the game started but Deshone Kizer provided a pretty emphatic answer Sunday night.  Kizer accounted for six Notre Dame touchdowns – 5 passing, 1 rushing – in one of the best performances from a Notre Dame quarterback in a loss in some time.  Kizer’s best stat of the night, however, might have been a zero – as in zero turnovers.  A year ago Kizer’s one knock was his turnovers.  Sunday night he protected the football well though ending the night with 215 yards on 15 of 24 passing with 5 TDs.  He added another 77 yards on the ground on 13 attempts including a 29 yard run.

2016 4 Horsemen Standings

Player1st2nd3rd4thTotal Points
Deshone Kizer2201150
Equanimeous St. Brown1201110
Dexter Williams100150
Nyles Morgan002040
CJ Sanders002040
James Onwualu100040
Josh Adams010030
Torii Hunter001020
Jerry Tillery000110
Shaun Crawford000110

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  1. I wonder what it would feel like to have a defensive lineman who could penetrate and knock the ball carrier backwards. Just once.

  2. The baffling part is that many many ND fans are actually proud of the fact that studs can’t make it at ND. Something about losses to unranked teams being “special.”

  3. The truth is that ND has had very few defenders that could play in the SEC. Manti. Jaylon. Tuitt. Very few others.

    Studs just can’t or won’t be able to make it at ND.

    ND football is at a crossroads. It can’t compete at the top of the current college football world. Bama would kill ND. So would Old Miss.

  4. Andrew Trumbettis and Greer Martinis certainly don’t start at top tier schools. But hey, they probably understand a useless defense a little better than the more talented second stringers. What are the benefits to BVGs defense again?

  5. Anyone watching the Mississippi florida state game? My god the speed of Mississippi on defense especially the dline. the difference between notredames defense and mississippis is like watching local stock cars and nascar.

  6. We must accept the fact that we are, have been, and will continue to be mediocre. We have not had a CB since Bobby Taylor and I am sick of the lack of fundamentals; especially with the D – arm tackling does not do it. If we accept only high quality elite players how do you explain the charges agains6 6 athletes last week? Sounds more like FSU I really question Brian Kelly as an elite coach; he is good but not what is necessary to move to the next level. We need to understand that we are in the same league as PSSU

  7. ND makes minimal effort when it comes to winning football games. It’s not a level playing field, so there’s no reason to expect to win. Therefore there’s no reason to get upset about losing. I need to learn this.

  8. Thank you, Nemesis. ND should consider either joining the Ivy League or start its own, non-NCAA league. it’s simply not going to win against elite teams. Time to admit the obvious.

  9. Thank you, Nemesis. ND should consider either joining the Ivy League or start its own, non-NCAA league. it’s simply not going to win against elite teams.

  10. No, I wouldn’t make that prediction SteelFanRob. I believe 2012 was the exception. I think ND has consistently been great at being good, but, not good at being great. ND, I don’t think can play against the type of players the acknowledged elite teams accept at their “higher level of institutional learning centers” because their football program goals are completely different than what ND strives for regarding its football program. It’s not equal footing and the difference is glaringly evident.

  11. But hey, we’ve all seen this before… offense makes a heroic comeback just to see the defense piss it away at the end. Same old story. Nothing changes at ND.

  12. There were actually two shit punts that contributed to the loss. Last year was NDs best shot to do anything in the post season. It was probably the most talented team they’ve had in at least two decades and still lost three games. BVG obviously has no clue, that goes without saying, but still, the players can’t tackle to save their lives. Defensively, ND just doesn’t have the size, strength and speed to be anywhere near elite. They looked like boys playing against men. It was embarrassing how many times ND tacklers got completely plowed. It’s like they weren’t even there half the time, especially in OT when it mattered most. But even still, BKs attempt at running a two QB system was probably most detrimental of all.

  13. Can anyone here actually say that as of today, Labor Day 2016, ND football is closer to the elite programs th
    an it was at the end of the 2012 season, after the beating by Bama?

    Is ND any closer to Bama today?

    Perhaps by the end of the season things will be different and ND is playing for a NC. Anyone want to make that prediction right after what we saw Bama do to SC? After what we saw ND look like against Texas?

  14. I knew it was over, and said so out loud to my friends, who accused me of being too negative, immediately after the crap punt in the 4th. The ND kicking game is a major problem.

    The O under Kizer was very good. Not so much the OL. In the end had the O just gotten a few first downs at the end of the game it would’ve run down the clock. But it didn’t do so, and then our garbage punter made things worse.

    I here you, pete. it’s so sad to see what ND has become, namely, a very average program.

  15. Just turned 60 this year. Have followed. Notre dame since 1964. Right now I am very disappointed to say the least. I do believe Kelly is a very good coach but he needs to dump this d coordinator. You score 47 points and still can’t win. Also not sold on light. I noticed watching Ohio state, Alabama, and Clemson last year their db,s always turn their heads and look for the ball in the air. None of notredames defensive players do this. Also poor tackling angles,fundementales. This is all coaching issues.

  16. I agree with this list.

    C.J. needs to stop running like a girl on returns and man up. Every return is pitty-pat bs from him and the most important return that ND needed for the night to set up good field position after the 2 point blocked field goal, he receives it at the 20 and jogs a few yards before being tackled by the first guy there who was being blocked by two of our guys. How does that happen!? He appears to run as hard as he can when he catches a pass so why not kickoff? I want to see Williams be our main returner.

    I actually thought the middle of our defense did a decent job last night. Our CBs and safeties are awful. We cannot cover one on one and is really going to limit us bad going forward. I guess most of us expected this. It’s just getting old.

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