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Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Navy

| Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bill Brink, Managing Editor

Ready yourselves for frustration, because Navy’s triple option always causes it. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs runs the option well and has an absurd 16 rushing touchdowns this season. Now cue Manti Te’o hitting the gap and destroying the pitch man just as he gets the ball because the defensive line has sealed up the fullback’s hole and Darius Fleming pressured Dobbs to force the pitch. That won’t happen every time, but it’ll happen enough to secure a win for Notre Dame. Jimmy Clausen has been ridiculous without Michael Floyd. With him back, even as a decoy, the rest of the offense opens up and scores a ton of points on a solid but overmatched Navy defense. Navy will control the clock and score, but not nearly enough to win.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Navy 17

Michael Bryan, Associate Sports Editor

The return of Michael Floyd is absolutely huge for this Irish team. With Floyd, Notre Dame can hang with almost every team in the country just on the strength of their passing attack. Even if he does not play considerable time against Navy, the game experience will be valuable for Floyd to be ready against a tough Pittsburgh team. The Notre Dame offense should be able to control the line of scrimmage and continue to dominate through the air. The run defense is playing very well, and Manti Te’o should have a big game against the triple option attack. Ricky Dobbs will have success at times, but the Irish offense will be too much.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 37, Navy 17

Matt Gamber, Sports Editor

Navy lost to Temple last week, but that was without its best player, quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs should be back running the Midshipmen’s classic option attack, which the Irish defense shut down for most of last year’s matchup. The same should happen again, as the maligned secondary should get a bit of respite because of Navy’s run, run, run style of play. The offense will need to play mistake-free football as it has all year to maximize its limited possessions, and Charlie Weis said he’d be sure to involve all his weapons, including the newly returned Michael Floyd. As always, Notre Dame is a much bigger, faster, more talented team than Navy, and this year, the Irish will just be too much for the Midshipmen. This one won’t be close.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 27, Navy 7

Sam Werner, Associate Sports Editor

After a break last week in San Antonio, Jimmy Clausen will likely have to play the whole game against the Midshipmen. Notre Dame is more talented than Navy, to be sure, but the option-style offense will keep the game closer than it probably should be. The Irish won’t be able to control the clock for nearly 40 minutes like they did against the Cougars, and Navy always comes to South Bend fired up and ready to play. That being said, though, the Midshipmen (or anyone else in the country, for that matter) will have trouble stopping a Notre Dame offense with both Golden Tate and Michael Floyd in the lineup. Robert Hughes could also have another big day against an undersized, if opportunistic, Navy defense.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Navy 20