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Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Navy

Observer Sports Writers | Thursday, August 30, 2012

Allan Joseph
Editor-in-Chief

On paper, predicting this game is a fool’s errand: Navy games are always unpredictable, season openers even more so and games in Ireland … well, who knows?
The reality is much easier than that, even with the loss of two starters to suspension. Notre Dame has come a long way from the debacle in the Meadowlands two years ago, and Navy has since lost Ricky Dobbs. The Irish defense is much more disciplined, and Everett Golson is running an offense that’s finally comfortable with the Brian Kelly system.
Especially considering the hype around this game, Navy might give Notre Dame a scare for a quarter or so. But it won’t last much longer than that. It’s going to be one amazing Irish party in Aviva Stadium.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Navy 14

Andrew Owens
Assistant Managing Editor

Typically the anticipation of the season opener carries with it a rosy outlook. Each team’s record is unblemished, and surely this is the year everything comes together for your favorite program. In 2012, however, Saturday’s season opener should be more of a sigh of relief that the off-season is over. After recruiting defections and season-ending injuries with suspensions sprinkled in, the focus is back on the game of football. While the trip is a once-in-a-lifetime affair for fans, it’s a headache for coaches and players. Navy is used to ignoring distractions and playing disciplined football, and we’ll see if the Irish can do the same. An adequate showing by the offense will be aided by a dominating effort by the defense and a successful halt of the triple option.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 27, Navy 13

Chris Allen
Sports Editor

From the time the Emerald Isle Classic was announced, it is the festivities rather than the football that has dominated the talk. But the beauty of big football events is when the festivities die down, the game played between the white lines is the same game the players have played their whole lives. I get the sense from talking to players that the international aspect of this game does not excite them much.
In year three of his tenure, Brian Kelly has assembled the dominant play around the line of scrimmage that should make the Irish less susceptible to the fluke upset all season. Golson will make a few plays – and a few mistakes – but the Irish will walk off the field 1-0 knowing bigger tests await Stateside.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 33, Navy 21

Andrew Gastelum
Associate Sports Editor

Since last season there have been a lot of headlines swirling around the Irish, and most of them have nothing to do with football: Key players leaving the program, suspensions to big names, controversial jersey designs and even a trip to play the season opener across the pond. The real question is: Are the Irish prepared for the season?
With all the distractions, we will see very soon how much this Irish team has progressed and matured since last season in a key year for the Kelly campaign. One can never tell with Navy, but the fact that Notre Dame has had the preseason to prepare for the Midshipmen’s distinct offense is a definite advantage. Look for the Irish rushing attack to have a field day against a defense that gave up seven rushing touchdowns in last year’s matchup.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 30, Navy 10

Matthew DeFranks
Associate Sports Editor

Nothing screams “Welcome to college football season” more than a season-opening game in Dublin. No? Okay, you’re right. The game yells something more like “Instead of beating Navy in America, we’ll give them some hope in Europe.”
The hype surrounding this game, its setting, its shoes and its quarterbacks have overshadowed some simple facts: Notre Dame will be starting a first-year quarterback without its starting running back while trotting out an inexperienced secondary. Good thing none of that matters when you play Navy’s porous run defense and its option attack on offense.
Everett Golson will make some mistakes but he can afford to against a service academy in the season opener.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 27, Navy 13