A cool combo
Book throws 4 of 5 TD passes to Claypool in rout
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Ian Book lofted a pass to the frontright corner of the end zone in the third quarter Saturday against Navy.
Wide receiver Chase Claypool made a twisting catch for a touchdown to complete a day for the Notre Dame record books.
Book threw five touchdown passes, four to Claypool, to lead the No. 16 Irish to a 52-20 victory against No. 23 Navy in front of 74,080 at Notre Dame Stadium.
“Chase always has the juice,” Book said. “You can tell when he gets on a roll, you want to keep getting him the ball. Even though it might not be the clearest look, he’s going to come down with it. That makes my job a lot easier.”
Notre Dame’s consecutive sellout streak ended at 273 games, which had ranked second behind Nebraska’s 373. The last time the Irish did not sell out a home game was 46 years ago on Thanksgiving 1973 against Air Force.
Those in attendance Saturday saw a sharp passing performance from Book.
He completed 14 of 20 passes for 284 yards and the five touchdowns in about 2½ quarters. It was his third game with at least five touchdown passes this season, a Notre Dame record.
“I feel great,” Book said. “I’m confident, confident with all the guys on this team. The defense is doing an awesome job getting us the ball. They play so well and give us so many opportunities and our offense, we’re starting to roll.”
Notre Dame (8-2) recovered four fumbles. Navy (7-2) entered the day with eight fumbles lost this season. Two of Book’s touchdowns came after Notre Dame recovered fumbles.
“I’m definitely really confident,” Book said, “and this whole offense should be.”
Book also had five passing touchdowns Sept. 14 against New Mexico and Oct. 5 against Bowling Green. He had four passing touchdowns last week against Duke.
“He works so hard,” coach Brian Kelly said. “He does all the right things. It was just a matter of there was too much noise and he had to find a mechanism as the quarterback at Notre Dame to eliminate all the noise that comes with. (He) has and found it and he’s in a great spot, and he’s going to continue to progress.”
Claypool had seven receptions for 117 yards and also joined the Notre Dame record book. His four touchdown receptions tied a single-game school record. Maurice Stovall established the mark on Oct. 22, 2005, against BYU.
“(Book is) throwing the ball up and giving me a chance to make a play,” Claypool said. “I’m happy that I’m able to make some plays for him just to build that trust a little more.”
Said Kelly: “(Chase) is a guy that is difficult to defend. He’s virtually a guy that has all the weapons.”
Book also found an open Braden Lenzy for a 70-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was the longest scoring pass of Book’s career.
“As a quarterback, those are huge plays,” Book said. “Really, it’s when you get those opportunities, make the most of it. When you hit big plays, it opens up your whole playbook.”
Claypool had touchdown catches of 7, 47 and 3 yards in the first half. His final touchdown was the twisting 20-yard grab in the third quarter.
“We work on that all week,” Claypool said. “We know it’s a tough ball to defend and we try to take advantage of that any time we can.”
Claypool noted that he once had 10 touchdowns in a game in eighth grade. Notre Dame will settle for Saturday’s production any time.
“It was a fun day for everybody associated with Notre Dame,” Kelly said.
Ian Book throws a pass in the third quarter of Notre Dame’s 52-20 victory over Navy on Saturday.
Chase Claypool makes one of his four touchdown receptions as Cameron Kinley defends Saturday in Notre Dame’s victory over Navy.