After a close call against Pittsburgh and much needed bye-week, the Fighting Irish are back in action against the Navy Midshipmen. This edition of the Notre Dame Navy Rivalry will take place in San Diego, California. Notre Dame will be looking to improve to 8-0 for the first time since 2012. Another primetime matchup for the Irish will be no cakewalk, as they have lost 3 of the last 9 meetings against the Midshipmen.
Essential Game Info:
- Game Time: October 27th at 8:00 p.m. on CBS
- Location: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
- Matchup: Notre Dame is 75-13-1 all-time against the Navy Midshipmen (last meeting 2017: Notre Dame won 24-17)
- Current Odds: Notre Dame -22.0
San Diego Weather Forecast
The current forecast for GameDay shows a 0% chance of rain with a high of 77 degrees and a low of 63. Below is a look at the next 5 days leading up to the game (this will automatica
- Conference: American Conference (West Division)
- Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo
- 2018 Record: 2-5
- 2017 Record: 7-6
Uncharacteristic Season for the Midshipmen. Yes, Navy is a service academy, but that has not stopped them from being ranked often during the Niumatalolo Era. Navy’s 2-5 record is undoubtedly an outlier for this program under Niumatalolo.
One thing is for certain, no matter the record, Navy will not be intimidated by Notre Dame. I fully expect Navy to give their “best game” of the season against the Irish. Purdue’s upset of Ohio State last weekend shows that anything is possible in college football.
Triple Option Attack. As he has each year, Ken Niumatalolo will face the Irish with his famed triple option attack. Last year, the Navy Offense was almost enough to upset Notre Dame in South Bend. Throughout this season the Midshipmen Offense has not been as dynamic as year’s past. However, the Irish will need to play disciplined football in order to stop the Navy Offense.
Navy Key Players. The Midshipmen are led by quarterback Garret Lewis who is 24 of 49 through the air (49%), with 346 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Surpassingly, Lewis attempted 13 passes against Houston last weekend, an extremely high number for a Navy team. On the ground Lewis has 68 carries for 244 yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average.
Ground Attack. The running game features Malcolm Perry, Nelson Smith, and Anthony Gargiulo. Perry leads the team with 127 carries for 729 yards, good enough for a 5.7 yards per carry average and 7 touchdowns. Smith has 57 attempts for 307 yards, 1 touchdown, and a 5.4 yards per carry average. While Anthony Gargiulo has 48 attempts on the ground for 176 yards.
Taylor Jackson is the only receiver with double digit receptions. Jackson has 11 receptions for 198 yards, an 18 yards per catch average, and a touchdown. It’s clear that he is Navy’s go to receiver when they decide to pass.
Notre Dame Storylines:
One game at a time. With only 5 games remaining on the schedule and no ranked opponents as of now, each week could be known as a “trap game”. Notre Dame will head to the West Coast twice, East Coast once, Northwestern, and have one final home game. Brian Kelly will have the more well-rounded team in every matchup, the challenge will be to focus the team for the final stretch of the season.
A well-deserved bye-week. For perhaps the first time all season, Notre Dame will have all their running backs healthy. Jafar Armstrong is scheduled to join Dexter Williams, Tony Jones Jr., and Avery Davis. Troy Pride Jr. looks to join the starting lineup as an injury kept him out against Pittsburgh. Even Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa could likely join the roster before the regular season is over.
Offense still has room for improvement. If it wasn’t for the Notre Dame Defense keeping the Irish in the game, Notre Dame would’ve likely lost to the Pittsburgh Panthers. Luckily the Notre Dame Offense got things figured out in the second half. The running game was disappointing to say the least against Pittsburgh. Yes, the Panthers were forcing Notre Dame to run, but the Irish still should have done better than 2.1 yards per carry. Even Dexter Williams was held to only 31 yards on 13 carries.
The passing game looked great again facing Pat Narduzzi’s Defense. Ian Book had an interception where a defender came off a different receiver and another where he was hit attempting to throw. Ian went 26 for 32 in the passing game with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also had 31 rushing yards. If 26 for 32 passing is a bad game for Book, that is a good sign for the rest of the season.
Head to Head Matchups:
Notre Dame Offense vs. Navy Defense: The Irish will need to have a strong balance of running and throwing the ball in this matchup. The duo of Ian Book and Dexter Williams will lead Notre Dame on Offense. Notre Dame needs to make the most of every drive, because they typically don’t have that many positions against Navy. The Midshipmen will have their hands full all night, after giving up 49 points last week to Houston.
The Irish Offense has the advantage in this matchup.
Advantage Notre Dame
Navy Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Fighting Irish have one of the best defenses in the country. Even when the Irish Offense hasn’t showed up, the Notre Dame Defense has come to play. Alohi Gilman will be ready for the challenge of facing his former team. Notre Dame will need to be disciplined and prepared for this triple option attack. Navy’s triple option attack will be frustrating at times, but the Irish will be ready.
Advantage Notre Dame
Special Teams: Special Teams continues to hurt the Irish. Notre Dame has almost lost two games this season because of poor special teams play. A kickoff-return for Michigan and Pittsburgh almost propelled both teams into beating the Irish. Notre Dame doesn’t need to be perfect on special teams, the Irish just need to not make the big mistakes, which they haven’t been able to do.
Tyler Newsome and Justin Yoon have been terrific this season; the rest of the special teams needs to step up. Their counterparts are Bennett Moehring and Owen White. Moehring has attempted 7 field goals and made 6 this season. White has averaged 41.2 yards per punt on the season.
The Irish have more talent on special teams but have lacked consistency. I give the advantage to Navy in this category.
The Pittsburgh game was hopefully a wake-up call for the Irish. Just as all the media seemed to jump on the bandwagon after the Stanford and Virginia Tech wins, Notre Dame had a letdown game against the Panthers. Now the media is all over the Irish because they lost a close game; like every single other top-tier team has done with maybe the exception of Alabama.
The close call against Pittsburgh and rest from the bye-week should give the Irish fuel for this game and the remaining games. Looking at the matchup this weekend, Notre Dame seems to always struggle getting Navy off the field. Hopefully with a great defensive line, they will be able to like they did in 2012 when the Irish won 50-10.
Navy will hold the ball until a few seconds remain on the play clock every single time. Don’t expect Notre Dame to get that many drives, like the Pittsburgh game and Navy games every year. I still think Notre Dame can put up 34 points on the Navy Defense with such few possessions. The key will be to get Navy off the field early in each drive. I have the Irish winning by 17 points.
Prediction: Notre Dame 34 Navy 17