The final three minutes of Saturday’s 27-21 win over Navy turned a 20 point Notre Dame lead into a 6 point Notre Dame escape. A lot went wrong in that final three minute span so I figured I’d take a closer look at just how much went wrong for the Irish.
1. Failed 4th Down Conversion
With a 4th and 3 at the Navy 44 yard line and just over two minutes remaining Weis decided to go for it instead of punt. I don’t mind the decision at all. If we convert for the first down, the game is over and we win by 20. Three yards isn’t exactly a lot to ask for out of the running game the way we were running the football all day. The problem is that we weren’t able to convert and Navy got the ball back against the Notre Dame reserves.
2. Navy Scores 24 yard Rushing Touchdown
Shun White, who was held in check most of the day, took an option pitch 24 yards against a bunch of Notre Dame reserve defenders and galloped into the end zone.
3. Robbie Parris Bats Onside Kick Forward Out of Bounds
After Navy scored what should have been a meaningless touchdown, they attempted an onside kick which Robbie Parris batted forward out of bounds. This, of course, is not allowed so Navy was given a chance to rekick.
4. Navy Recovers the Rekick
Given a second chance to perform and onside kick, Navy successfully recovered after the Irish hands team waited for the ball instead of attacking the ball and recovering it when given the chance. This kick should have been recovered by the Irish and the game should have ended here.
5. Navy completes a 40 yard pass to Tyree Barnes
One play after recovering the onside kick, Ricky Dobbs connected with Tyree Barnes for a 40 yard pass to the Navy 1 yard line. The play was reviewed and it was ruled that Barnes got his toe in bounds with possession of the ball before his heel clearly landed out of bounds. It was a close play, but I still can’t fgure out how it was a catch. Navy punched the ball in from a yard out two plays later.
6. Roughing the Kicker on Extra Point
After Navy cut the Notre Dame lead to 6, David Bruton was called for the roughing the kicker which gave Navy excellent field position for another onside kick attempt.
7. Navy Recovers Another Onside Kick
Notre Dame’s onside kick return team looked out of place on another onside kick and a very fortuitous bounce allowed Navy to recover a second onside kick inside of two minutes and the Midshipmen has the ball yet again.
After completely shutting down and dominating the Navy defense for 58 minutes, the Midshipmen had a chance to win the game thanks to a number of errors by the Irish. Luckily we held on for the win, but the game become much closer than it needed to be and nearly ended in devastating manner for Notre Dame.