Notre Dame 4 Horsemen of the Week: Wake Forest ’17

Brandon Wimbush - Notre Dame QB

Notre Dame improved to 8-1 on the season yesterday with an uneven performance against Wake Forest.  The Irish offense didn’t miss much of a beat despite star running back Josh Adams getting injured and registering just five carries, but the Irish defense sprung leaks for the first time this season.  Notre Dame prevailed 48-37 though in large part due to these four players.

1. Brandon Wimbush

He is close guys, he is really close.  Brandon Wimbush took another step forward this week in his development as a passer.  He set a career high with 280 yards on 15 of 30 passing with a long touchdown to Chase Claypool.  Oh, he also ran for over 100 again with 110 yards and 2 more touchdowns on the ground.   He did all of this while Notre Dame’s star running back essentially sat this one out after getting banged up early and while nursing his own left hand injury.

(Side note: Adams should be fine for this weekend and was actually cleared to return medically, but was held out because he just wasn’t fully right according to Kelly).

Wimbush was still far from perfect in the passing department, but it was clear Notre Dame wanted to work on their downfield passing game with all of the bombs they called.  Wimbush was just a hair late on a couple that would have been easy scores that turned into drops because the receivers had to adjust a bit.  Yes Wimbush was late on some of them but Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Kevin Stepherson all had their hands on passes in or near the endzone that Notre Dame needs their receivers to start making.

The point of this isn’t that the wide receivers still need to get better though (they do but that’s not the point).  It’s that Wimbush is getting closer and closer to being a complete quarterback.  Some will still be frustrated that he isn’t a finished product yet, but he keeps getting better each week and we keep seeing just what a dangerous weapon he is when he takes off.  This was the best we’ve seen Wimbush look since the Michigan State game.

2. Chase Claypool

Had Chase Claypool hauled in the one deep pass that slipped through his fingers, he would have been over 200 yards receiving on the day.  As is, Claypool set a career high and more than doubled his season total with 180 yards on 9 catches including a 44 yard touchdown.  We’ve been waiting for a receiver to step up all season and start to become THE guy.  Claypool took a step in that direction on Saturday.

Aside from the deep passes, it was clear that Wimbush was looking for Claypool on the short and intermediate routes as well and the Canadian product delivered.  His 9 catches were more than double his previous season/career high of 4 that came in the Michigan State contest.  Hmmm, Claypool’s best games seem to be aligning with Wimbush’s best games. Coincidence?  I think not.   If what we saw from Claypool and Wimbush yesterday is a sign of things to come over the final three games, this offense could take a step into the downright unstoppable territory.

3. Tevon Coney

It was a rough day for the Notre Dame defense on Saturday.  The Irish surrendered nearly 600 yards of offense and gave up 37 points to a Wake Forest team missing their best wide receiver after not allowing more than 20 all season long.  Tevon Coney, however, did everything he could to slow down the Demon Deacons. He was all over the field for a third week in a row and lead Notre Dame with 12 tackles including 3 TFL and a sack.  The rest of the Notre Dame defense had 4 TFL and 0 sacks.

I’ve been saying for a while now that Coney is going to be an All-American next year for the Irish.  I’m going to up the ante a bit here and say that he is, right now, the best linebacker on the Notre Dame roster.  He now leads the team in tackles (74) by 10, leads the team in TFL (9) by 2.5, and is tied for the team lead in sacks (3) with Jerry Tillery, Daelin Hayes, and Khalid Kareem.

4. Julian Love

Another Notre Dame defender who had a solid afternoon was Julian Love.  His second quarter interception helped open up the Irish lead in the first half.  His first two interceptions on the season went for six and his third nearly did too but he was tripped up at the five.  Tony Jones Jr took it the rest of the way on the ensuing play though.  Love had another fairly easy interception fall through his hands later in the second quarter.  He isn’t going to drop many of those in his career.

Love ended the day tied for second on the team in tackles with 7 while adding a TFL and leading the Irish with 3 pass breakups.  The rest of the defense tied for two as a team.

Yearly Standings

Josh Adams’s injury opened up the door for the standings to get closer and Brandon Wimbush stepped right in.  It looked like Adams was going to run away with this one, but by coming in first this weekend, Wimbush is within striking distancce with three games to go.  Tevon Coney now sits alone in third place

Player1st Horseman2nd Horseman3rd Horseman4th HorsemanTotal Points
Josh Adams1500190
Brandon Wimbush2120150
Quenton Nelson2012120
Tevon Coney1014100
Shaun Crawford200080
Drue Tranquill110070
Jerry Tillery010140
Deon McIntosh100040
Justin Yoon010030
Jay Hayes001130
Julian Love001130
Chase Claypool010030
Greer Martini001130
Equanimeous St. Brown010030
Nick Coleman001020
Julian Okwara001020
Sam Mustipher001020
Dexter Williams000110

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7 comments

  1. bob rader 2 years ago

    Will be watching Irish take on the Hurricanes from the 50-yard line at the Hard Rock stadium this Saturday night. Hope this week’s anemic pass rush improves. Cannot hurry Rosier with 3 or 4 man rush any more than ND got to Wolford this week.

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  2. Michael the Archangel 2 years ago

    #7 on O’ showed up big time when needed, despite two catchable bombs dropped.
    Quote of the day: Wake’s HC Clawson. ” They could have gotten 900 yards!”
    The response of the O’ with 700+ yards and 48 points was impressive, despite no Adams and an abbreviated Wimbush.
    #7 missing most of the game on D’ hasn’t been mentioned much.
    Not that Pride isn’t getting better each game, but Watkins might have been missed.

    Forget about last season’s Miami-ND game.
    Much like the hurricane game in Raleigh. Trash that tape. Two much improved teams this year.
    I agree w/Duranko that the D’ will come more focused vs. Miami U. after this week.
    It’s time to turn loose the blitzes and stunts not needed these last two months, forcing TOs and errant passes, and to heal and deal.

    South Beach . . . Here come the Irish!

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    1. A68Domer 2 years ago

      Anyone going to South Beach will be a long way from Hard Rock Stadium.

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  3. duranko 2 years ago

    Oh, Yawn, the Irish were up 40-16 and had a defensive letdown. SURE they could have finished better, but that is a NET BENEFIT as Elko, Lea and their merry pranksters will be humbled and LASER FOCUSED (think the pre-USC mindset) for the Hurricanes.

    But there is a new 800 pound gorilla in the Notre Dame football program. NOTRE DAME CAN PASS THE FOOTBALL to
    win. College football teams are dynamic and fluid, and player development occurs. Wimbush now has the confidence that he can generate 250 yards plus passing. And there are three great receiving weapons at WR: St. Brown, Stepherson and Claypool. We are now reduced to the ignominy of ONLY four proven pass catching TES: Smythe, Jones, Eifert, Kmet.
    The key is the ignition switch, the QB. Fans lost patience after Georgia. Rees, Long and Kelly never did. And the “passing QB child” of September, Brandon Wimbush has become November’s man. He has room to improve but he and his teachers and an absurd bevy of receivers are eager to learn.

    Miami is tough, Richt is seasoned, Manny Diaz is no gimmee as a DC. But that ain’t the Hokie offense that will show up on Saturday night.

    And the Board bedwetters have been on these threads whining about Navy. Numbers can mislead but numbers don’t lie. (think puffery,not perjury). Navy had 136 yards in 52 carries against Temple. Temple. The Owls. Let the bedwetters change their whiny diapers and put on some talcum powder. This ain
    t last year’s defense that Navy will confront.

    Saturday night in South Florida. Canes. Challenge in the air. An unbeaten team.

    This, gentlemen, THIS IS NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL.

    I can’t speak for you, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Go Irish!

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  4. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

    Still no tight ends making the exclusive four horsemen. With the magnitude of this weeks game, the tight ends will be utilized to their full potential.

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  5. Damian 2 years ago

    Glad to see the offense taking little steps forward each week. Hopefully that continues into the post-season. Hopefully the defense picks itself up. I’m wondering how much WF’s HC knowing Elko hurt us though. Don’t forget, WF’s offense also had to practice against Elko’s defense when he coached there. They know Elko as well as anyone possibly could. We’ll see in the next 3 games if that was all it was, or if there really is some weakness. I’m betting, hoping, that WF’s familiarity with Elko was all it was. If we hold Miami’s offense that would be a good sign.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

      Damian,
      One thing you were sure right about is the Big 10 cannibalizing itself!

      BGC ’77 ’82

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