Saturday, November 2, 2013
Notre Dame Wins Shoot Out With Navy
If you wanted to see a defensive struggle, you watched the wrong game. Unlike the Michigan State and USC games, it was the offenses who ruled this day. Notre Dame and Navy accounted for over 900 yards of offense in this game.
For the Irish, Tommy Rees had another solid day with 242 yards passing and two more touchdowns. Hid did have two interceptions but only one was really on him. The receiver fell down on the other. TJ Jones had another big day with 4 catches for 111 yards.
But the story of this game was the running game. George Atkinson opened the game with a 41 yard touchdown run. Cam McDaniel was also solid running with 7 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. But they were both outdone by true freshman Tarean Folston who had a breakout game. He rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Navy really had no answer for the Irish offense. Notre Dame did not punt all day. It was only the two interceptions when the Midshipmen escaped without points and even on one of those a touchdown was called back because of a really questionable holding call. Notre Dame scored touchdowns on all three of it's second half possessions.
Defensively it was a struggle though. To be fair, the Irish had some key injuries for this game, most notably Louis Nix aka Irish Chocolate. The referees also did not do the Irish any favors. There was an illegal use of hands penalty on Stephon Tuitt that kept a drive alive early that looked like a good play. Then Mathias Farley had a hit in bounds with his shoulders first that would have forced a punt. Instead he got flagged for unnecessary roughness.
But even with that, Notre Dame should have had enough talent to overcome what Navy had. As it was Keenan Reynolds and that triple option attack gave the Irish nightmares all day. Notre Dame actually only stopped them three times all day.
The first stop was the Mid Shipmen's second possession in which they did the Irish a favor by trying to pass when their option attack was working. The second stop was the first possession of the second half in which the Irish earned and made them punt. The third stop came on the final possession of the game in which the Irish actually got a little lucky. Navy was marching but a fumbled pitch on a first down put them in 2nd an 16. They gained part of it back and set up a 4th and 5. That is when Navy tried a trick play with a reverse off the option only to have emerging freshman linebacker Jaylon Smith waiting for them and made the tackle. Honestly, I don't know why Navy tried that trick play when Notre Dame hadn't stopped their base option all game. The regular option probably would have worked.
But with the win Notre Dame improved to 7-2 with BCS hopes still alive. The problem is that not too many teams ahead of the Irish in the poll actually lost. #21 Michigan did get destroyed by #22 Michigan State. I am not sure if that helps us or hurts us. #15 Texas Tech went down to #18 Oklahoma State. #7 Miami fell hard to #3 Florida State. It will be interesting to see how far those teams fall in the poll.
Notre Dame must be #14 to be eligible and #8 for an automatic bid.