Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Navy
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, October 9, 2015
Greg Hadley, Editor in Chief
Brian Kelly and the Irish have said all the right things since the loss to Clemson last weekend: They’re not in this for moral victories; they’re going to come out angry against Navy; they’re not concerned about the College Football Playoff, just the next game.
But why should anyone believe the talk? If the past is any indication, this matchup with Navy has all the makings of a trap game. Last season, in almost the exact same situation — coming off a gut-wrenching road loss — the Irish came out flat and struggled to put away a pesky Navy squad. And this year, Notre Dame has come out flat against underdogs Virginia and UMass, with varying degrees of success in pulling away. Navy is certainly is more capable than the Minutemen and the Cavaliers.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 33, Navy 27
Mary Green, Assistant Managing Editor
Brian Kelly said Notre Dame can’t afford any more slow starts like it had against Clemson, and that holds especially true this week against a potent Navy offense led by Keenan Reynolds and the triple-option attack.
The Irish prepared for a similar situation against Georgia Tech, and they were able to score early and often against the Yellow Jackets.
However, to do that, the receivers can’t afford to continuously let down DeShone Kizer like they did against Clemson. The Irish offense still relies largely on the play of C.J. Prosise and the offensive line, but last week’s game proved an air attack is necessary for success as well. Perhaps their lackluster play was a result of the rain, so they should be able to rebound Saturday.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Navy 24
Zach Klonsinski, Sports Editor
The last time Notre Dame faced a triple-option offense, it completely shut it down for 53 minutes. The Irish defense also shut down Clemson last weekend for about 53 minutes. Is this the week the defense finally puts together a 60-minute effort like it did against Texas to start the season?
Not quite. Keenan Reynolds and the Navy offense will find success at times Saturday.
But with how angry the Notre Dame offense, particularly the receivers and offensive line, will play, it won’t matter much. This one will be over by the end of the third quarter as the Irish rebound with a statement victory.
Look for Corey Robinson to begin down the path to redemption with a solid day.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Navy 24
Alex Carson, Associate Sports Editor
This game will go the way the Notre Dame defense wants it to.
If defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s unit comes out with the intensity and scheme it used to brilliantly stop Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack last month, there’s no reason the Irish can’t run away with a big victory to set the tone for the rest of the year.
But if Notre Dame comes out with defensive
intensity like it had early against Massachusetts or Clemson, it could lead to a tight game that comes down to the final possession or two.
DeShone Kizer and C.J. Prosise shouldn’t have an issue being productive on offense, so this one is squarely on the shoulders of an experienced defense.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Navy 24
Brian Plamondon, Sports Writer
After last week’s loss to Clemson, Brian Kelly’s message to the team wasn’t positive — instead of talking to his team about the fight they put up, he harped on his disappointment in the Irish since they didn’t seize the opportunity they had.
Notre Dame is a football team looking for vengeance, and it just so happens to be Navy that it’s going to take it out on. Under any other scenario, I would be wary of Navy, but not with how mad the Irish are: Just ask Joe Schmidt, who said no one would smile for a week following Clemson.
Points won’t be hard to come by for the Irish; instead, the most intriguing part of this game will be how the Irish contain Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, a quarterback who throws far less than even Georgia Tech.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Navy 21