Score - Notre Dame: 38 Navy: 14
Unfortunately, the dream of an undefeated season came to an end against Notre Dame as the Irish dominated Navy in this 38-14 rout.
It looked like the Midshipmen would be able to go toe-to-toe with Brian Kelly’s squad through the first quarter and a half with the score tied at 7-7, but Notre Dame then proceeded to put up 31 straight points to put the game out of reach. It was an onslaught of offense that showed Notre Dame’s superior talent and depth and the Mids were simply unable to keep up.
Navy added a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make it a 38-14 for the final outcome, but the game had been decided long before then.
The Navy defense has carried the team through this simulation, but they couldn’t handle the Irish on Saturday. Notre Dame totaled 512 yards and converted nine-of-16 third down opportunities. They also were four-of-four on fourth down opportunities. The clutch play of Tommy Rees was a huge factor for Brain Kelly’s offense. Notre Dame also made the most of its red zone chances, coming away with points on all six of its trips to the red zone, including five touchdowns.
On the offensive side of the ball, Louis Nix and the rest of Notre Dame’s fantastic front seven were able to keep Keenan Reynolds under control and forced the Mids to play behind the down-and-distance. Once Reynolds was forced to become a passer, Navy’s wide receivers were unable to find openings in the secondary.
Navy avoided big mistakes, but couldn’t make enough plays to keep up.
With Notre Dame’s defense keying on stopping Keenan Reynolds, Darius Staten found some openings and had a great game. He finished with 128 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries and was the only one to really have any success in Navy’s triple option attack.
It’s a disappointing loss, but Navy is still in great shape at 7-1. The Midshipmen are in position to possibly win 10 games and have a chance to earn a spot in the Top 25 if they can put together another winning streak over the next few weeks. They now get to return home to Annapolis and face a Hawaii team that will be having to travel across the country and enters with a 2-6 record and one of the poorest run defenses in the country. It should be a formula for Navy to get back to its winning ways.