Notre Dame used an array of big plays and some defensive adjustments at half time to momentarily stop the bleeding that was occurring during their 1-3 start. The Irish squeezed the Orange for a 50-33 and played with more juice like their head coach had pleaded with them to do.
Editor’s Note: amongst all of the news last Sunday, we missed publishing the Four Horsemen of the Week for the Duke game but last week’s players of the week are reflected in the standings. They were 1.) Dexter Williams, 2.) Deshone Kizer, 3.) Nyles Morgan, and 4.) Equanimeous St. Brown.
With that out of the way, here are this week’s Four Horsemen of the Week.
4. Dexter Williams
Last week he was called the only Notre Dame player to play with fire and passion. This week Williams made a video game style touchdown run through the Syracuse defense while picking up 80 yards on 8 carries. Williams had a scary moment where it looked like he may have suffered a bad injury, but he was back in the game a few plays later. Phew! Williams needs to be involved in the Notre Dame game passing game much more moving forward. With his speed in the open field Notre Dame needs to get him the ball in space. Deshone Kizer tends to look downfield for the big play too much. Some designed screens showing him he can get big plays by throwing the ball 5 yards and letting his playmakers do their thing might help get him away from that line of though.
3. Nyles Morgan
Nyles Morgan having his best game of his Notre Dame career a week after Brian Vangorder was fired reminded me a lot of Demarco Murray ripping off a long touchdown run on his first carry after Chip Kelly was fired in Philadelphia last year. Morgan collected dust on the bench last year while Joe Schmidt admirably tried to play every down when he clearly wasn’t the same player from before his 2014 injury. This year Morgan is developing into the linebacker we all envisioned he could be when he signed with the Irish.
Morgan had 8 tackles, 1.5 for loss, and his second sack of the season on Saturday. Just a reminder. Notre Dame has two sacks as a team this season. You do the math there. The stats didn’t tell the whole story though. Morgan is developing into a leader on the field and that is the most encouraging development for the junior. The last time Notre Dame’s best defensive player was also its vocal leader was 2012. That will happen again next year if Morgan continues on the trajectory he is on.
2. Deshone Kizer
Kizer wasn’t perfect on Saturday – hate to ruin it to some but no quarterback is. Kizer set a Notre Dame record with 471 yards passing in a win (there have been two other higher passing totals which came in losses). He also threw three more touchdowns and ran for his 6th on the season. Last year Kizer set a Notre Dame record for rushing TDs by a quarterback with 10 and is now on pace to shatter his own record.
Kizer is still a work in progress which makes what he is doing all that more exciting. Kizer is putting up ridiculous stats while still misfiring on some passes and leaving plays on the field. As he continues to improve and eliminates those misses, this kid will be one hell of a quarterback. Hell, he already is. Some Notre Dame fans might not realize how great he is until he’s gone.
On the season Kizer has thrown 14 touchdowns and run for another 6. He’s on pace for 36 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing. The Notre Dame single season passing touchdowns record is 37 by Brady Quinn in 2006. That record is well within reach for Kizer at this point. With 35 career passing touchdowns now, Kizer has already moved into 7th all-time at Notre Dame with Everett Golson and Rick Mirer (41 each) and Ron Powlus (52) within reach this season.
1. Equanimeous St. Brown
Everyone thought Torii Hunter would be the #1 wide receiver this year while St. Brown would start to come into his own throughout the year. St. Brown has had other ideas. Against Syracuse the sophomore had four catches for 182 yards including a pair of long touchdown grabs. It was his second straight 100+ yard performance and his second 2 touchdown game of the season. St. Brown has scored in every game for the Irish except the 39-10 win over Nevada.
On the season St. Brown improved his totals to 25 receptions, 541 yards, and 6 touchdowns. And he is getting better each week. The single season receiving touchdowns record at Notre Dame sits at 15 with Golden Tate, Jeff Smardzija, Rhema McKnight, and Will Fuller all tied. St. Brown is pace to have 15 this year. He is also on pace for 1,400+ yards this season while the Notre Dame single season record is 1,496 by Tate in 2009
Yearly Four Horsemen Standings
|Equanimeous St. Brown||1||2||0||1||110|