Staff Predictions: Navy vs. Notre Dame
Observer Football Beat Writers | Thursday, October 31, 2013
By ANDREW GASTELUM
Almost everyone is talking about Stanford and the game that will determine a BCS bowl. But if the Irish aren’t careful, they won’t even make it that far. With some key injuries throughout the defense, a better triple-option attack this week at home could be just the sneak attack to send the Irish spiraling.
But somehow the Irish defense has only gotten stronger in recent weeks while Tommy Rees has been impeccable in his last two games (which has been roughly five quarters).
Don’t write this matchup off as just another blowout win, but the Irish should have enough firepower to continue rolling on its path to Palo Alto and potentially New Orleans.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Navy 23
By MATTHEW DeFRANKS
Assistant Managing Editor
This Notre Dame team is finally starting to resemble the one it was a season ago. But then again, maybe it’s just the teams they are playing. After squeaking by a USC team in transition, the Irish pummelled Air Force by five touchdowns this past weekend. The defense has been dominant and the offense has been sharp (under Tommy Rees).
How much of that is a mirage, though? It could be a lot but we will not find that out this weekend against Navy. The Irish are bigger and better than the Midshipmen and should win this game comfortably. Brian Kelly and the coaching staff adjusted quickly to the option a week ago and I expect them to do the same as Notre Dame rolls to an easy win over another academy.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Navy 10
By MIKE MONACO
I’m not sleeping on Navy, but I’m not wide awake either. Call it sleeping with one eye open.
This isn’t quite the same as another Air Force cakewalk. In fact, the Midshipmen defeated the Falcons, 28-10, four weeks back. Navy has scored a touchdown on roughly 39 percent of its drives this year, the 12th-best percentage in the country. With sophomore Keenan Reynolds at quarterback, that percentage jumps to 43.
But I remember last year in Dublin, when Notre Dame dropped an easy 50 points on the Mids and rushed for 293 yards. This year, I think Navy gears up to defend Notre Dame’s recently explosive passing attack, only to be gashed on the ground by the likes of Cam McDaniel and Tarean Folston.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Navy 14
By JOSEPH MONARDO
Associate Sports Editor
For 86 straight years Notre Dame and Navy have faced off, and Saturday will bring the latest entry in what has become a cherished tradition for both sides.
The Irish enter this one on the heels of a successful outing against another academy relying on the triple-option attack, in what may prove to have been a valuable tune-up. Navy is not Air Force, however, and has scored a couple of respectable wins against Indiana and Pittsburgh. On the other hand, Notre Dame is not Indiana or Pitt. With a shiny new ranking next to their name, the Irish have gotten their season back on track and won’t slip up here against a Navy team that is 1-3 on the road this year. Even though Notre Dame Stadium may be a welcoming, respecting venue for the Midshipmen, the Irish rushing game will make sure the home team wins out.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Navy 20
By JACK HEFFERON
Over the last 60 years, Notre Dame losing to Navy has been almost unimaginable. But over the last six, this matchup has been a coinflip.
This has all the makings of a trap game for the Irish, as the talk surrounding the team has improbably shifted to the BCS once again. Navy is a better team than Air Force, and has outpunched several respectable teams this year.
Notre Dame’s saving grace though will be their trip to Colorado last week. The Falcons jumped on the Irish with the triple option and grabbed early momentum, but the Irish had time to work out the kinks in their option defense. Against the Midshipmen, a start like that may have been fatal (See: The Meadowlands, 2010). But the dress rehearsal has the Irish ready to handle the option, and they’ll sing both Alma Maters after a comfortable win.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Navy 17