Blue scored a 47-44 victory over Gold in the fast-paced 2018 Notre Dame spring game Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana.
Fighting Irish starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush continued to showcase progress from the pocket, including 328 yards in the first half. His rapport with wide receiver Miles Boykin showed midseason form, highlighted by a 64-yard touchdown for the Blue team.
Meanwhile, the Notre Dame defenders didn't play as poorly as the final score suggests. The program created a unique scoring system for the contest, allowing the defenses to get points for turnovers, stops and negative plays, which inflated the overall score.
Wimbush's development as a passer will be a crucial factor during the upcoming campaign. He's a massive dual-threat weapon, rushing for 804 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, but he completed just 49.5 percent of his throws in his first year as the starter.
Irish Illustrated noted head coach Brian Kelly said earlier in spring camp he was happy with the senior's improvement in his footwork and mechanics:
That progress was on display once again Saturday.
Wimbush, wearing a red jersey to prevent contact, spent most of his snaps standing tall in the pocket and trying to deliver strikes. He appeared far less content to pull the ball down and run when under pressure, and he did a nice job of delivering his throws on time.
His touchdown toss to Boykin was a laser over the top of the secondary, as Barstool Irish showed:
Ian Book, the other QB on the Blue side, also had a strong outing. He's done well establishing himself as a reliable option should Wimbush falter.
Notre Dame Football spotlighted his long TD throw to Chase Claypool, who made a nice play in traffic:
The line is the other offensive concern for the Irish. The team lost two key linemen, guard Quenton Nelson and tackle Mike McGlinchey, to the NFL draft. While it's hard to get a firm grasp on line play in a spring setting, there were no massive lapses Saturday.
Jalen Elliott was the standout defensively.
The junior safety was all over the secondary making plays against the pass. If he can become a more consistent tackler, he has the talent to become one of the country's breakout players this fall.
Notre Dame Football showcased his interception of Wimbush:
All told, Kelly and his coaching staff should be happy with the spring game. The defenses gave up a few too many plays downfield, which is something it must clean up in fall camp, but the overall play on both sides of the ball provided a lot of encouraging signs.