Notre Dame put on quite the fireworks display Saturday night under the lights in the House that Rockne Built and Jack and Brian rebuilt. The Irish blew the doors off of USC and honestly at this point I am running out of superlatives to describe the blowout. All phases of the game clicked for Notre Dame while the Trojans looked nothing like the #11 team in the country. The Irish now sit a 6-1, expectations raised, margin for error even smaller. As the Irish begin preparations for yet another top 15 opponent, let’s take a look at the Four Horseman of the week in Notre Dame’s historic rout of Southern Cal.
1. Tevon Coney
In my USC game preview I said that I wasn’t worried about Notre Dame being without Greer Martini this week because of how well Tecon Coney has been playing. Well, Coney made that statement look pretty smart in retrospect. Against USC Coney had perhaps the best game of his career with a game high 11 tackles while adding 2 TFL and a strip sack on the first offensive play of the game for USC.
Lost in Notre Dame’s rout of the Trojans was Coney’s huge play at the start. Let’s review that quickly though. Notre Dame had just gone three and out and set up USC with the ball near midfield. The game was still 0-0 there obviously so it would have been very easy for the Trojans to make a couple plays there and least score some points. Had they done that, who knows what happens momentum wise. Instead, Coney made the huge play and it was the Irish offense who suddenly had great field position.
With his 11 tackle performance, Coney is now the leading tackler for Notre Dame through seven games with 53 despite starting just two contests.
2. Josh Adams
What else is there to be said about Adams? At this point, it should be expected that he will go for 150 yards and have at least one long touchdown run each week because that is the expectation he has set. Adams was nothing short of brilliant again this past weekend with 191 yards on 19 carries and three more touchdowns. He now has 967 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season – both are already career highs. His yards total might soon be a Notre Dame record too. He is well within striking distance of Vegas Ferguson’s single season record of 1,437 set in 1979. At Adams’s current pace he would reach almost 1,700.
While Adams is benefiting from some huge holes courtesy of Notre Dame’s offensive line, he is also leading the nation in yards after contact and running with some great vision. If Notre Dame gets him more involved in the passing game over the final five games, he will build himself one hell of a Heisman resume since right now that is one thing that Saquon Barkley has over him.
3. Brandon Wimbush
Returning from injury, Wimbush didn’t show any sign of rust despite not playing for 3 weeks including the bye week. In fact, Wimbush took a step forward in the passing department with a couple impressive throws. Luckily, he didn’t need to throw it all that often with Notre Dame’s success on the ground.
As mentioned in the Post Gam 6-Pack, Wimbush is still very much a work in progress as a passer, but each week we are reminded why any growing pains the offense experiences with him as he develops are well worth it because of the jaw dropping plays he makes with his dazzling athleticism. This weekend Wimbush missed a couple passes he’d probably like to have back and he was also hurt stats wise by a few drops. Forget stats for a second though and just look at his demeanor in the pocket. We saw a much more comfortable quarterback back there on Saturday than we’ve seen in weeks previous.
Against USC all he did was account for another four touchdowns – 2 rushing and 2 passing while going over 100 yards on the ground for the second time this season.
4. Quenton Nelson
I was torn as to what to do at #4 here since Khalid Kareem had a great game with 2 sacks and Kevin Stepherson showed that he adds another dimension to this offense, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the offensive line needs more love in this column. The Notre Dame OL totally dominated the USC defensive front. By the second half, the Trojan defensive no longer wanted any part of the Notre Dame line thus I am giving the nod to Quenton Nelson here as the leader of the offensive line. Any of the five starters could have been named here, but Nelson did a number on USC on Adams’ 84 yard touchdown so he gets the nod.
Adams is starting to pull away from the pack here for obvious reasons. He is on pace for a historic season and if he keeps putting up stats like he did on Saturday against ranked teams, he’ll be invited to New York in December. With his first place finish this weekend, Tevon Coney is now in the top 5 at #4 on the season just behind Shaun Crawford who has gone a bit silent since his massive game against Michigan State. Something tells me that will change soon.
Another interesting observation here is that only one player has been named the top Horseman of the week more than once – Shaun Crawford. That shows that this Notre Dame team has a lot of contributors and each week it is someone new stepping up and making the difference for the Irish.
|Player||1st Horseman||2nd Horseman||3rd Horseman||4th Horseman||Total Points|
|Equanimeous St. Brown||0||1||0||0||30|