NOTRE DAME 52, NAVY 20
If Chase Claypool and Ian Book continue connecting as they did Saturday in No. 16 Notre Dame’s 52-20 rout of No. 21 Navy, the hotel roommates may deserve a penthouse suite.
Claypool caught four touchdown passes to match a school record and Book threw five for the third time this season as the Irish (8-2, No. 16 College Football Playoff) won their third straight game.
“The chemistry with Ian has definitely helped a lot,” Claypool said. “I think trust is a big thing. I think he truly trusts me now. Not that he didn’t before, but he knows exactly where to put the ball. He’s throwing the ball up and giving me a chance to make a play.”
Claypool caught seven passes from Book for 117 yards and now has 49 receptions for 768 yards this season.
“Chase is an important part of our offense, so he’s going to get the football,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “He was outstanding. We executed flawlessly in the first half against a really good Navy team.”
The 17th straight home victory 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.
Book completed 14 of 20 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns before exiting midway through the third quarter and the Irish up 45-3. It was his third game with five touchdown passes this season and followed a 38-7 victory at Duke in which he rushed for 139 yards and threw for four touchdowns, a Notre Dame first.
“I think we can safely assume he is the guy we thought he would be,” Kelly said. “He started slowly but has now found himself. He is the leader of our offense and our offense is playing at a high level now.”
But Book turned the high praise toward his wide receiver.
“Chase is having an awesome year,” Book said. “It’s starting to show on Saturdays by how hard he’s working in practice.”
Claypool had 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 haul 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.
“We got our butts whipped and it started with me,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “They had a great plan on both sides of the ball and we just got a total butt-whipping.”
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.
Irish defensive end Khalid Kareem forced two fumbles and linebacker Drew White had 10 tackles. Notre Dame turned four fumble recoveries into 24 points.
PENN STATE 34, INDIANA 27
Quarterback Sean Clifford scored three touchdowns Saturday, leading No. 9 Penn State past No. 24 Indiana 34-27 to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, No. 9 CFP) next week plays at No. 2 Ohio State, where the top spot in the Big Ten East will be on the line.
Clifford also completed 11 of 23 passes for 179 yards and ran for 55 yards. Journey Brown rushed 21 times for 100 yards and added a score. With Penn State ahead by a field goal with 10:45 to play, Clifford led an 18-play, 75-yard drive that ate 9:01 and ended when he plunged in from a yard out to put the game out of reach.
Tight end Nick Bowers caught a 12-yard touchdown pass for the Nittany Lions
Peyton Ramsey completed 31 of 41 passes for 371 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more for the Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3) who outgained Penn State 462 to 371.
After going three-and-out to start the game, the Nittany Lions recovered a muffed punt and scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Clifford to Bowers. Ramsey took advantage of a safety blitz on Indiana’s next possession and hit an open Ty Fryfogle for 38 yards to make it 7-7.
Jake Pinegar kicked a 47-yard field goal to put Penn State up 10-7, but Indiana took the lead when Ramsey capped a 63-yard drive with a 1-yard run less than three minutes later.
Clifford put Penn State up 17-14 with 1:03 left in the first quarter when he sprinted up the middle for a 38-yard score. Pinegar added a 27-yard field goal to give Penn State a 20-14 halftime lead.
Brown turned another Indiana turnover into a score when he raced 35 yards early in the third. Ramsey scored on another 1-yard run early in the fourth and Logan Justice kicked two field goals for the Hoosiers.
Both players lost their star receivers in the first half. KJ Hamler left in the first quarter after he returned a kickoff but didn’t appear shaken up as he walked off.
Indiana’s Whop Philyor had to be helped to the locker room after he was sandwiched between Penn State defenders, taking helmet-to-helmet contact from both and fumbling away the ball in the process.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 45, BALL STATE 44
Jonathan Ward rushed for 105 yards and four touchdowns, Tommy Lazaro ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, the second coming from the 2-yard line with 61 seconds left in the game, and Central Michigan overcame a big deficit and beat Ball State 45-44 on Saturday.
The Chippewas (7-4, 5-2 Mid-American Conference) trailed 27-11 at halftime and 41-31 heading into the final quarter. Central Michigan led 3-0 early and then didn’t lead again until its final drive.
Ward ran for his first TD in the second quarter from 1 yard out and then added scoring runs of 6, 9 and 1 yard in the third quarter to get the Chippewas within 10 points.
Quinten Dormady completed 27 of 38 passes for 356 yards and one interception for the Chippewas. Tyrone Scott had four catches for 95 yards.
Drew Plitt finished 14-of-25 passing for 268 yards with three TDs and a pick for the Cardinals (4-6, 3-3). Justin Hall had four catches for 95 yards and two scores. Riley Miller caught the other scoring pass for Ball State. Walter Fletcher led the Cardinals’ ground attack with 115 yards on 15 carries. Huntley added 106 yards rushing with a TD on 24 totes.