Staff Predictions: Navy
Observer Sports Writer | Thursday, October 27, 2011
Halloween is here, and I’m terrified. The Irish are trying to regroup after an emotionally draining game. Even worse, Notre Dame will try to defend the triple option without one senior defensive end and with another hurt.
The Midshipmen feel like a better team than their record shows, and a win would be the statement they are looking for. And, of course, they have been the Boogeyman in this rivalry for the past four years. This game sets up like an absolute nightmare.
It won’t be. When everything favors the Irish (see: last week), they often lose. Now everything favors Navy. That should mean Notre Dame will win, thanks to a receiving corps Navy simply cannot cover. Yet Notre Dame Stadium could easily turn into a house of horrors by the time night falls Saturday.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Navy 24
It’s a bittersweet symphony, this season, trying to make ends meet.
And right there is the problem — ends. Senior defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore is now out for the season, and his classmate and counterpart Ethan Johnson is not yet enjoying a fully-healthy ankle.
Of all the positions to suffer these losses, this was the spot the Irish could least afford them this week. Navy’s option has plagued Notre Dame in recent years, and Lewis-Moore’s and Johnson’s experience against it were Notre Dame’s best bets at stopping it.
Well, so much for that.
So, for the fourth time in the last 48 years, prepare for the worst.
Make that the third time in the last three years.
FINAL SCORE: Navy 31, Notre Dame 24
Senior Sports Writer
Notre Dame’s defense was outmatched and out-manned against USC. Now both starting defensive ends, one of the most crucial positions in stopping the option, are hampered by injuries. The Irish had significant problems stopping the option against the Midshipmen last year, and did not fair particularly well against Air Force’s similar attack.
But Navy is not a team that can come from behind. And if Notre Dame’s offensive weapons — namely Michael Floyd and Cierre Wood — who are severe mismatches for all of Navy’s defense, can get the Irish an early lead, then they should be able to hold on to it.
Expect a high-scoring game, but the Irish will bounce back and come out on top.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Navy 27
Associate Sports Editor
After dominating Navy without suffering a single defeat for nearly a half-century, Notre Dame has lost three of its last four against the Midshipmen, including two in Notre Dame Stadium.
Last year, Navy flummoxed Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco with its triple-option. Even without quarterback Kriss Proctor, the Midshipmen still have a solid chance of winning their third consecutive road matchup against the Irish.
Notre Dame needs to jump ahead early and take advantage of opportunities on offense, as it did against Air Force.
After being irrelevant in the 31-17 loss to USC, Michael Floyd will torch the Navy secondary on the way to a win.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Navy 24
Assistant Managing Editor
It’s only fitting that Halloween weekend features the scariest team Notre Dame will face all season. While Stanford is downright dominant, at least you can identify and attribute its success to a Heisman-caliber quarterback and experience at every position. But Navy is a mystery because I simply can’t explain its ability to walk into Notre Dame Stadium and win. Twice. In a row.
How hard could it be to limit an option attack you know is coming? Four of Navy’s five losses have come from a total of only eight points. This team is dangerous, particularly against an Irish front seven that lacks Kapron Lewis-Moore and a healthy Ethan Johnson. If Aaron Lynch and Stephen Tuitt aren’t in the backfield early and often, not even “Crazy Train” will help.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 21, Navy 20