SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Chase Claypool caught four touchdown passes to match a school record and No. 16 Notre Dame shut down Navy’s triple-option in a 52-20 rout on the 21st-ranked Midshipmen on Saturday.
The 17th straight home victory for Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish did not sell out Notre Dame Stadium. It was the first time since 1973 Thanksgiving Day against Air Force, a string of 273 sold-out games. A crowd of 74,080, 3,542 below capacity, saw Notre Dame win for the 79th time in the 93-game series that has been played continuously since 1927.
Ian Book completed 14 of 20 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns before exiting midway through the third quarter and the Irish (8-2, No. 16 CFP) up 45-3.
Claypool caught seven passes for 117 yards with scoring receptions of 7, 47 and 3 yards from Book to give the Irish a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Book threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Braden Lenzy later in the quarter as Notre Dame took a 38-3 halftime lead and then hit Claypool with a 20-yard scoring pass on their final play of the game together. Claypool’s TD matched Maurice Stovall, who caught four TD passes against BYU in 2005.
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Midshipmen (7-2, No. 23 CFP), who entered leading the nation in rushing with 357.9 yards per game. But the Irish defense forced three first-half fumbles by Navy’s shifty quarterback Malcolm Perry, who rushed 25 times for 117 yards before behind replaced in the third quarter by freshman Perry Olsen, who had a 43-yard TD pass to Mychal Cooper and a 2-yard TD run.
Irish defensive end Khalid Kareem forced two fumbles and linebacker Drew White had 10 tackles. Notre Dame turned four fumble recoveries into 24 points.
Navy: Perry was averaging 130.2 rushing yards entering the game. He managed a 46-yard run late in the first half that set up a Bijan Nichols’ 27-yard field goal, but for the most part was contained. Meanwhile, the Midshipmen’s defense, allowing just 310.6 yards a game, allowed 300 at halftime by the Irish and 415 for the game.
Notre Dame: After throwing incomplete on his second attempt, Book completed 10 passes in a row. He also added 31 yards on five carries.
Navy: The Midshipmen, who had climbed to No. 21 with five straight victories, could fall out of the AP Top 25.
Notre Dame: The Irish, who fell a spot to No. 16 despite beating Duke 38-7, could move up with one of their more complete games of the season.
Navy: Returns to AAC play and entertains No. 20 SMU Saturday.
Notre Dame: Closes out the home schedule Saturday against Boston College.
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