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. https://gameday.nd.edu/events/calendar/2017-navy/page/1/
Game Day Weather:
- Conference: American Athletic Conference
- Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo
- 2017 Record: 6-3
- 2016 Record: 9-5
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.
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