Notre Dame Football Primer: Navy 2017

Notre Dame is coming off an unforeseen blowout to the Miami Hurricanes. Barring major collapses from a long list of teams, Notre Dame is out of the playoffs. Notre Dame’s mental toughness will be tested this week against the Navy Midshipmen and their triple option. If Notre Dame wants to send their senior off with a win, they’re going to need a full team effort.

What you Need to Know

  • Game Time: November 18th, 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Matchup: Notre Dame leads the all-time series 76-13-1 (Navy won last year 28-27)
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -17.0
  • GameDay Events: The Pep Rally will take place Friday, November 17th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Compton Family Ice Arena. For more information visit.

Game Day Weather:

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Navy Details:

  • Conference: American Athletic Conference
  • Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo
  • 2017 Record: 6-3
  • 2016 Record: 9-5

Navy Storylines:

Navy looks to continue success against Irish. After last year’s win, the Midshipmen will try to beat the Fighting Irish in back to back seasons for the first time since 2009/2010. They are coming off a 43-40 win against SMU. As the Irish are feeling down about last week’s performance, Navy undoubtedly will be playing the biggest game of their season.

Quarterback Zach Abey leads the Navy attack. Abey has over 1,200 rushing yards on the season coupled with 13 rushing touchdowns. As expected he only has 60 pass attempts and 25 completions on the season. Of those 60 attempts Abey has 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

Navy has a duo of Running Backs. The running back core for the Midshipmen is led by Malcolm Perry and Chris High. Perry has 77 carries for 736 yards and 7 touchdowns. While High has 111 carries for 478 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The Irish defense will need to be disciplined this week after coming off a poor performance the last two weeks.

Notre Dame Storylines:

How motivated will Notre Dame be? After the Irish lost to Georgia in the second game of the season, they bounced back in a major way. They played with a grit and eventually found their way up to #3 in the country. Now that the Irish are out of the playoff race, their mental toughness and more specifically, heart, will be tested. If Notre Dame wins the next 2 games they will still make a New Year’s Six Bowl, which is a major accomplishment after last year.

Will the Notre Dame Defense show up? The Irish Defense has needs to get back to being disciplined. With respect to them, they were put in bad positions because of the offense last weekend. A pick six by Miami also made the score look a little worse than what the defense gave up. Looking at the box score, the Irish only gave up 2 of 13 3rd down attempts against the Hurricanes. Conversely Miami was 3 for 3 on 4th down.

Malik Rosier only threw for 137 yards against the Irish, but Miami had more success on the ground, where they racked up 237 yards. Mike Elko needs to get this defense back to its roots and stopping the run this weekend, especially against Navy

Notre Dame Offensive Line looks to dominate again. The only two losses of the year came against perhaps 2 of the best defenses in the country, Georgia and Miami. The Midshipmen of Navy are not either of those two teams, they have substantially less talent. I expect the Irish running attack to get back to form this week.

Head to Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. Navy Defense – Advantage Irish- The Notre Dame Offense has too many weapons for the Navy Defense to try and cover. Navy has given up over 30 points each of their last 5 games heading into this matchup. The only way Navy can slow down the Irish Offense is if the Irish beat themselves and come out flat. Also, if Navy’s Offense holds the ball forever which will help the cause.

Navy Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense – Advantage Navy- Notre Dame Fans know the triple option very well. Ken Niumatalolo has upset the Irish with his slow style of play several times. The key to stopping this offense is to be disciplined. First, stop the full back dive, then make sure there is a defender accounting for the quarterback and the running back who is waiting for the pitch. Easier said than done, especially when Navy always seems to call a pass play at the right time against the Irish.

I give Navy’s Offense the advantage in this matchup. In order to win this game, the Irish Defense needs to get stops. If not, look for long methodical drives by the Midshipmen.

Special Teams – Irish- I give the Irish the advantage in this matchup. Although Notre Dame has not scored on a single kick return or punt return all season, they do have the speed to do so in CJ Sanders. Notre Dame has superior talent in this matchup, and if Sanders gets a hole, no one on Navy is going to catch him.

Justin Yoon has been solid this year for the Irish. Navy has always been known to go for it on 4th down; due to the necessity and lack of field goal kicking. Their kicker, Bennett Moehring, is 6 for 10 on the season this year.

My Prediction:

The Notre Dame Defense has played awful the last two weeks, although they weren’t given much opportunity or field position to succeed against Miami. The defense is going to be tested by the triple option this week. Mike Elko’s defense will be a key to this game.

I think the Notre Dame Offense will bounce back. They will be playing an inferior defensive line that is nothing like Miami. Also, they will be playing at home and two of the linemen will be playing their last game at home (possibly Mustipher as well). I believe the Irish will win this game, but Navy will take advantage of Notre Dame’s lack of motivation, after being eliminated from playoff contention.

I have the Irish winning by 2 touchdowns.

My Prediction: Notre Dame 35 Navy 21

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  1. Usually the Pollyanna type fans get on my nerves, as much as the woe is me type fans that refuse to acknowledge even when ND does well. I find myself between cautiously optimistic or cautiously pessimistic most of the time, so somewhere in the middle (right now leaning toward pessimistic).

    I can’t help but like this positive Pete guy though. He reminds me of the down home, come in an have a beer and let’s have a good time guy.

    I guess it’s helpful to remember that there are real, true problems in the world. Shootings, North Korea and so forth. A lot of us are disappointed, a lot of us expect better from ND, and that’s all ok. But it’s not the end of the world. As long as we live to fight another day.

    Go Irish.

    1. First rate, Damian.

      But I think that we human mammals can have moments of compartmentalization. We can regret a loss, be annoyed at some of the players misplays and coaching decisions, and yet not abuse “the child.”

      Notre Dame, per Omnia saecula saeculorum, transcends football, even though it keeps our rapt attention. That’s part of the definition of “fanatic” or “fan.” But Notre Dame Monday morning was the same organism it was on Friday afternoon.

      I chuckle at the “Football is a microcosm of life,” types. Hell, I don’t even believe that “Life” is a microcosm of life.
      And as the late,. great Al McGuire said of his beloved hoops: “you can’t take it TOO seriously; it’s ten guys running around in short pants.”

      Again, we compartmentalize. If our Irish can not slow down the Navy option, and only have three first half offensive possessions I’ll be filled with angst. Yet we go on. As does Notre Dame, vita dulcedo, spes. After all Notre Dame football survived the “Dark Ages” the ten year interregnum between Leahy and Parseghian.

      For now?
      Beat Navy
      Go IRISH!

      1. True, and I have been guilty of the same issues myself. Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back for a moment and put things in perspective.

  2. A lot of people are ripping on Kelly and seem pretty down on the team after the loss to Miami. It was a bad loss, to be sure. But the Irish are sitting at #8 with an outside shot of putting themselves back in the playoff discussion (with lots and lots of help). Win out and this team gets a New Years 6 game at the least. It wasn’t that long ago that we were looking for the positives of going 6-6 and playing in the Aloha Bowl (remember how that win and extra practice time was going to propel us to a monster 2009?

    This team is only going to lose a handful of starters and the younger players now have the right coaches to help them develop. The defense will be stacked next year, the line will re-load (though it won’t be AS good), and we’ll return experienced talent at all the skill positions. After another year of learning under new coordinators and in Balis’ strength program, this team should improve. This wasn’t a year we needed to “cash in.” It was a year we needed to right the ship. And the ship has been righted in a big way. We lost pretty big at Miami in 1987, too (granted, it was only Holtz’s second year).

    And ask around about the effects of forcing out or firing 9 win coaches who have winning percentages nearing 70. Nebraska has done it twice and it’s ruined them. Michigan did it and it’s taken a Harbaugh to fix it. Texas was certain it was Mack Brown who was holding them back. Tennessee thought they could do better than Fulmer. Looks like Georgia turned out ok.

    After his 8th year, Kelly will have 3 seasons of 10 or more wins and 7 seasons with 9 or more wins. In the 13 years before Kelly, three coaches combined for 2 seasons of 10 wins and 5 seasons with 8 or more wins. Kelly has put together three times that were legitimate title/playoff contenders in November: 2012, 2015, and 2017. In the 13 years before Kelly came, there were none. Kelly’s teams have won 3 times as many bowl games as the three coaches before him combined. If we get a New Years Six game this year, Kelly’s teams will have earned major bowl bids in 3 of the last 6 years–the same amount as in the 13 before he arrived.

    This is a good time to be a Notre Dame fan. We’re winning on the field, we’re bringing in great (if not always elite) recruits, and it’s only getting better. Good times.

    1. I’ve been hearing this bromide for going on thirty years. Forgive me if I don’t buy it, Keith.

      BK’s record is mediocre by historic ND football standards. Until he or someone else returns ND to truly elite status, everything else is just wishful thinking.

      GO IRISH!

      Beat Navy!

  3. BGC,

    Are you really comparing BK and his tenure to Ara’s? How many titles had Ara won eight seasons in to his ND career?

    1. No, not at all Rob. Not at all – there are very few similarities between ARA and BK’s “tenure” – but there are a LOT of similarities to THIS YEAR’S TEAM and the Ara era…including offensive stats that resemble Ara’s best outputs, especially on the ground…a (potentially) great turnaround, a championship run ending November loss, and a lot of other similarities I and others have written about all year long. I won’t recount them all again. Start paying attention in class young man.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  4. Yeah Duranko! And these people forget that ARA lost two November road games in November, on the road, when we were undefeated. Two. Both times we should (not could) have won an NC. The Theisman one was the hardest for me to take!

    This whole season has been very ARA-like. I feel sorry for the one-sided critics who are missing it even as it happens!

    La Crosse, Indiana

  5. Alternatively, the main event could be a mask versus mask match:

    “Positive Pete’s” hood would be a 🙂 happy face emoji, or his “Lone Ranger” mask as per “Duranko’s” storyline;

    “Demon David’s” mask would be an angry, red faced emoji (to make him look like BK on the sideline after his QBs screwup a screen pass).

    Loser must unmask himself on and leave the site!

    Oh the humanity!

    1. You’ll never understand it because you understand neither football nor Notre Dame’s values. It’s clear as a bell that you neither matriculated, nor did what the true Subway alums did:Embrace the gestalt of Notre Dame, in all of its key elemements with LOYALTY and COMMITMENT.

      But here’s the reason you don’t understand football. You actually think, and write about posters. Not to go all Alphonso Bedoia, (quid vide) Posters? Posters? We don’t need no stinking posters.

      Notre Dame, the football portion, is about the deeds of the people on the field, not we, and I clearly and unequivocally include myself. I would NEVER presume to speak for Curme, Kelly, Burgundy, Michael the Archangel or Positive Pete.

      Those of us, like Curme and Kelly, who post, discuss football its nuances, its highs, its lows, its ups its downs, its tactics and strategy.

      It’s not about emojis.
      Its not about your “ME generation’s” reactions.
      It’s not about posters hurt feelings and petty grievances and wounds.
      Sure we have free speech, so you try to “drag them down into the hole that you’re in.”
      But this “Thing of Ours” (for some of us) Notre Dame and its football team, is far vaster than petty egos or childish pouting. And there are a few guys who got it. Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, and yes, the current coach.

      Now, I’m about to start a FOOTBALL argument. Whaddyha gonna do if LOVE is the star this week and then Mustipher obliterates Stanford’s nose tackle.

      1. What I understand “Grand Wizard” is that “Positive Pete” isn’t real. He’s an invention of yours, Frank, GF, etc. to make a mockery of this once fine site.

        How ironic that “Positive Pete” storms onstage after the Miami debacle, with his rah-rah hyperbole and happy face emojis. How utterly ridiculous!

        But leave it to you to justify the ridiculous!

        Direct your sanctimonious, self-righteous declarations at yourself for a change.

  6. “Positive Pete”=Pure ND “baby face” gold! Brilliant “kayfabe” from Frank et al.!

    The timing of “Positive Pete’s” appearance on this site, storming in from backstage, ND fight song blazing over head, after the gutless Irish performance on Saturday night in Miami, coming to the rescue of this site’s favorite “faces” was well-timed indeed.

    I can see the main event already: LOSER LEAVES TERRITORY–“Positive Pete,” with the “Grand Wizard” “Duranko” in his corner vs. “David the Demon,” hailing from parts unknown.

    Continue to make a mockery of this alleged “labor of love” of yours, Frank!

  7. Every drama has its hero.

    Every crisis has a Lone Ranger riding to the rescue and here we have Positive Pete! Good on you, Pete!

    Quitting is easy, desertion a mere walk out of the perimeter.

    But Notre Dame has suffered football adversity before.

    People sanctify ARA and well they should but even that great man went 1000 days without beating either USC or Purdue.

    And the stabbing in the heart we all felt on Saturday night was, TRUST ME ON THIS, a mere pinprick compared to that awful day, that dreadful day, that unerased 18 minutes in the Coliseum against USC in ’74.

    And in rides Positive Pete! Blending meteorology and xs and os for Navy and planning ahead for those rascals in Palo Alto. “BRING ME A HIGHER LOVE”

    Wonderful, really, just outstanding!

    1. Thank you for the very nice comments! It is you my friend that is our Lone Ranger and UHND Fan of the week (Thoughts on a new fan of the week award?????). You have my vote this week (Great comments especially the USC insights!!!!!)! Thank. you for your ND love. As you say “Lets all bring a HIGHER LOVE and crush Navy!!!!” I think ND is primed for it 🙂 🙂 🙂 Go Irish!!!!

      1. Pete – love your views, but please, easy on the emoji’s – you are hurting my eyes…

  8. Navy is secretly preparing for the Irish, having assembled a handsome three game losing streak. Our defense will get socked in the mouth by the Middies, then wake up, smelling salts applied and then stuff the line. Our offense will score at will, wind or no wind. Game over by end of third Quarter, bench emptied for last chance Seniors. Back to the Lab to stop Love.

  9. Thank you Ron! It is so nice of you to give such a great compliment! I see you think that Sam Mustipher is long overdue for a Positive Pete’s Player Pick of the Week too. I am sure you will agree that he has been getting better and better each week. He shows a plethora of that CAN DO SPIRIT! With the wind factor, it is kind of a no brainer. I will give you a little hint into my prediction for next week’s Positive Pete Player Prediction versus Stanford. Let’s just say that I think you will LOVE it 😉 ……………… guessed it Julian Love!!!!!!!! Secondary will come up big led by this game changer!!!!!! Go Irish!!!!!!

    1. Always go with WNDU in South Bend for the weather. Use all the others for comparison only.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  10. Is it me or is the weather on Saturday going to be ideal for a football game? The winds are going to be might bit gusty which may be concerning for Wimbush’s passing game. However, it will get him running more which spells touchdowns!!!!! One great thing that came out of the Miami game was a well rested Justin Yoon. This will be a key in pinning those sneaky sailors from Annapolis in their own end zone on special teams. To me a well rested Yoon means an extra special teams. I predict a 49 to 7 victory. Go Irish!!!! 🙂

    1. The weather is great today…not too cold, no bight in the air, and partly sunny. But in North Central Indiana the weather can change quickly. I’ll let you know later in the week.

      La Crosse, Indiana

      1. Well, it’s overcast and colder now than this morning. But it’s supposed to get warmer again later in the week.

        BGC ’77 ’82

  11. Notre Dame will crush Navy. Wimbush will have a monster game along with the entire offense. The Defense will shut down
    the Navy offense. Notre Dame will not punt the entire game. The Big Question is how will they respond against Stanford the following week

  12. As a B10 comparison, does ND come out like PSU did against MSU, after a heartbreaking loss to OSU. They were just going through the motions and lost to MSU. Or do they come out like OSU did against MSU after being crushed by Iowa. They took out their frustration on MSU and crushed them.

    Who will ND be this week? Angry and ready to take it out on the next victim (sorry Navy). Or dazed and confused, listless and lost.

  13. This game will be telling, not so much the actual win or loss, ND should win this game, if not they are in serious trouble. But what I will be watching for is their attitude. Do they just go through the motions and eke out a victory without much passion. Or do they put it on the line and demolish Navy. As some have noted, Navy loves long methodical drives. That can get frustrating unless you keep them from getting first downs. Navy will be content to just move the chains a few yards each play. The defense has to force them into 3 and outs (or 4 and out). The offense needs to score when given the opportunity.

    ND needs to go back to having a chip on its shoulder. That’s the only way they are going to get any respect back.

    1. If we lose this game, the turnaround dream season becomes a “Willingham” type…a legit run at a NC that degraded into basically a three November loss end. But Damian, it won’t happen. They have worked too hard, and they are ND students – they are too smart to let this opportunity vanish.

      La Crosse, Indiana

      1. You are darn tooting that they are too smart to let the opportunity vanish 🙂 It is like my Old Pappy use to say “a little adversity can turn into a victory march down the boulevard of dreams come true!!!!” Remember when the going gets tough, the tough get going!!!!! Well, my friend BGC, the going got tough on Saturday. Now the tough will get going!!!! I am upping my prediction. If the gusts of wind remain around 5 mph, then ND 65 Navy 3. If the gusts of wind play in the 10-15 mph range then I see it as ND 49 and Navy 14!!!! Now if some weather pundits are correct and we do in fact hit 30 – 35 mph winds gusts, well that frankly changes everything. I see less passing and a closer game. It will be a run till you drop festival! I am feeling more like a ND 28 Navy 18 outcome if that happens 🙁 It will all come down to the wind gust as I see it. No matter the score, I see a victory this weekend for the Irish!!!! I would like to tell you about a tradition in my house that I have started this year. It is called Positive Pete’s Player Predictions! It is a little award I give to the player that I predict is a game changer. This week’s Positive Pete’s Pick is Sam Mustipher. If the run game is the CENTER of attention with the wind gust factor, then I see the ND Center Sam Mustipher having a big part in the victory. I am sure that me be a surprise to some :0. I think you will be quite pleased with this pick come supper time on Saturday:) Go Irish!!!!

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