Notre Dame-Navy, As It Happened
12:51 left, first quarter: Dayne Crist made Navy's defense look awfully slow there. The straight-up run defense is fine; it's when Notre Dame passes the ball – or drops back to consider passing – that the Irish meet with success.
9:13: That's the Maryland game in reverse, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. The Navy front loads the tackle box, as it should on fourth-and-short, and it stops Crist cold on a sneak attempt. Ballsy stuff, but now Ricky Dobbs has to generate at least three first downs to flip field position and give Buddy Green's defense a substantial rest.
8:00: Um, I think that's going to help Navy's cause just a wee bit. Establishing the fullback, indeed. Truly a Teich-able moment for the Mids.
6:05: You could see that touchdown coming; the only moment of drama was if Alexander Teich was going to catch the ball and not fall to the ground in the process. He made the phenomenal grab, and the rest was just a Saturday stroll to paydirt, with a little acrobatics near the goal line. Couldn't have scripted a much better start for Navy: goal-line stand, 99-yard touchdown drive. Yawn.
3:10: That's a fabulous stop – no one's going to say that Navy should shut down the Irish. Notre Dame's going to get its fair share of yards, especially in the passing game. As long as the Midshipmen can force a stack of field goals and stand tall in their own third of the field, they'll be fine. So far, that's exactly what the Buddy System has produced.
0:03: After one quarter, Navy is averaging 13 yards per rush. Yeah, that will get it done. It will also set up more screen passes and select pass plays that can and will snooker the Notre Dame secondary as it creeps toward the tackle box to stop the triple option. Navy's executing at a high level, and as long as the Mids can rack up touchdowns within a ball-control framework, the noose is going to tighten on Crist and the rest of the Notre Dame offense. Fabulous start in New Jersey for Ken Niumatalolo's lads.
End of First Quarter Score: Navy 7, Notre Dame 3.
14:51 left, second quarter: So, as we were saying about Notre Dame's secondary getting snookered. Not quite fooled, but certainly thrown off balance. Pass interference, if you please.
11:01: Crisp, clean, clinical. This is the Navy offense at its very best. The Mids are undressing Notre Dame behind phenomenal blocking up front, especially on the left side of the line. It's up to the Irish to score a touchdown and apply some scoreboard/game pressure on the Mids. Then Notre Dame has to get off blocks and punch the Mids in the mouth. It's instructive to note that Navy's using the fullback and the keeper more than the pitch man. This is a power job more than a finesse job the Mids are unleashing on Brian Kelly's crew. The Men of Ken are rolling, and Notre Dame has a distinct deer-in-the-headlights look as it trudges to the sideline.
10:55: That touchdown drive: 12 plays, 77 yards, 7:03. Yup – that will suffice.
8:46: Oh, man. Two Navy defenders prevent each other from snagging a monster interception in the end zone. Will that play come back to haunt the Mids before the day's done?
6:07: Yep, the not-quite interception bites Navy in the backside; poor coverage on 3rd and 14 allows Notre Dame to ring up seven instead of three. Well, here's your game pressure, Ricky Dobbs. Time to answer.
2:45: Notre Dame finally gets a push up front and plays assignment football with a little more conviction. Navy has to punt this game; the Mids have worked too hard to get a four-point lead. Pinning the Irish deep is the answer, especially since Navy gets the ball to start the second half. That's the biggest reason why the punt is the right move.
1:59: WOW! What a gift from Dayne Crist! Navy could grab an 11-point lead AND get the ball to start the second half. Major moment for the Mids here.
0:14: What an extraordinarily athletic and acrobatic run by Gee Gee Greene! That double-digit lead WITH possession to start the second half? It has arrived in Navy's lap. Tremendous execution and an optimal first-half result for Navy.
Halftime Score: Navy 21, Notre Dame 10.
11:33 left, third quarter: That Greg Jones catch tells you it's Navy's day. He didn't pick up the ball in flight, but the ball landed in his arms as he made the turn. I still don't know how that ball was caught.
11:23: Navy by 18. What else is there to say?
10:00: That non-interception by Wyatt Middleton should at least be reviewed with a slo-mo angle of the sideline. I didn't get a clear look. That could allow Notre Dame to stay in the game and pull within 11 points pretty soon, as poorly as this game's going for the Irish.
9:55: Okay, never mind.
7:34: Until further notice, one could just say "the butt-kicking continues" and capture the events of this game with complete yet concise clarity.
4:38: Um, yeah…. "the butt-kicking continues." Any questions?
1:53: The butt-kicking continues… and the internet is loaded with "Brian Kelly honeymoon is over" sentiments. This just in: Notre Dame wasn't all that great to begin with, and the quality of the recruiting under Charlie Weis is getting exposed. The real story is that Navy has been good enough to do the exposing… for the third time in the last four years, and for the first time outside of South Bend, Indiana, since 1960 (in Philadelphia).
End of Third Quarter Score: Navy 35, Notre Dame 10
11:37 left, fourth quarter: The butt-kicking continues.
6:12: The butt-kicking is briefly interrupted, but with Navy still leading by 18, it's not as though that Irish touchdown should be taken as an indication of newfound Notre Dame proficiency. It has to be so delightful for Navy to realize that it has given up nothing more than a garbage-time, window-dressing touchdown to Notre Dame.
1:00: This was as very winnable game for Navy, but the key is for the Midshipmen to bottle up this level of crisp, on-point execution and sustain it for the rest of the year. It's sobering to realize that if even a fraction of this performance was present against Maryland and Air Force, the Mids would be unbeaten. As it is, there's absolutely no reason for this team to fail to go 10-2 and reach the double-digit-win plateau within the confines of the regular season. That's what's ahead of the Men of Ken after this terrific win in New Jersey.
Final Score: Navy , Notre Dame 17
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