Aftermath: Notre Dame vs. Navy

Day-after analysis and musings following Notre Dame's 49-39 win over Navy

1. Tarean Folston rushed 20 times for a career-high 149 yards and one touchdown and rushed for an average of 7.5 yards per carry.

The sophomore running back has established himself as Notre Dame's No. 1 back, despite what the staff says to constitute otherwise. Folston, dynamic and elusive, did all the right things last night. His patience is fun to watch, how he stays low to the ground, reads his blocks and proceeds to explode up the field.

In the fourth quarter, the score 42-39, and Notre Dame facing 3rd and 6 at Navy's 33-yard line, Tarean Folston managed to get open in the middle of the field after Navy's linebackers had already dropped into coverage and abandoned him as a threat, and Everett Golson checked down to find him. Folston turned up field and gained 30 yards to give Notre Dame first and goal and a chance to put the game out of reach.

Folston was also instrumental in Notre Dame's third touchdown drive, which occurred in the 2nd quarter. He had runs of eight, three and four yards, caught a pass for 8 yards and picked up two first downs.

On the year, Folston has 532 rushing yards, and 367 of those yards have come in the past three games. In those same three games, he's averaged 6.2 yards per carry.

2. Farley, the forgotten?

Notre Dame's most experienced defensive back - who is healthy - hardly saw the field last night.

Notre Dame opted to play freshman linebacker Greer Martini over James Onwualu and Matthias Farley for much of the night as the Irish employed eight in the box. Martini held down the WILL linebacker spot, while Jaylon Smith played closer to the edges and often matched up with an inside wide receiver. While Martini posted a team-leading nine tackles on the night and had a solid overall performance (particularly in the second half), Farley showed late in the 4th quarter when he did enter the game that it may have been smart to have had him on the field more often. Coming up with two sacks and one pass breakup on just one series, Farley's energy wreaks havoc.

Farley, whose strengths are known to be tackling closer to the line of scrimmage, seemingly would have been an ideal matchup for Notre Dame vs. the Midshipmen. Martini got beat in coverage on different occassions, and though Farley can struggle in open space, let's not forget he is a defensive back.

Smith seemed to be much more effective when he was bringing the pressure last night, but unfortunately, we didn't see much of that until late in the game. Productive and consistent pressure from Sheldon Day, Nyles Morgan and James Onwualu also did not occur until the 4th quarter.

3. With 12:45 remaining in the 4th quarter, and Notre Dame leading 35-31, Chris Brown came up with a huge catch.

Golson found Brown for 46 yards on 1st down to bring Notre Dame to Navy's 40-yard line. A horse collar penalty inched Notre Dame closer to red zone territory.

On the game, he had two catches for 82 yards. His first catch of 36 yards occurred in the 2nd half to bring Notre Dame inside Navy's four-yard line. The following play resulted in a four-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller.

Could Breezy's much anticipated breakout be a matter of targeting him more? Brown has 23 receptions for 303 yards on the season and just one touchdown, but he's averaging 13.2 yards per catch and is productive more often than not when targeted. Top Stories