Three Keys Revisited - Navy at Notre Dame

Sometimes it is just not meant to be. Navy did a lot of things right on Saturday, positioning themselves with a drive to win the game on the road at Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the Mids that last drive ended with a turnover on downs after the Navy attack, which had been dominating all day, was unable to pick up five yards on three attempts after having second and 5 at the Irish 32.

Sometimes it is just not meant to be. Navy did a lot of things right on Saturday, positioning themselves with a drive to win the game on the road at Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the Mids that last drive ended with a turnover on downs after the Navy attack, which had been dominating all day, was unable to pick up five yards on three attempts after having second and 5 at the Irish 32. It was a kick in the teeth for the Mids who had fought valiantly from the opening kickoff.

Here is a look back at the three keys.

1) Win up front - Pass

Navy made this happen in a big way on Saturday as they out worked, out thought, and out blocked the Notre Dame defensive linemen on route to a monster rushing day. The Mids ran for 331 total yards and really took advantage of the fact that the Irish were missing Louis Nix III at the defensive tackle spot. Navy amassed an impressive 70 carries against a team which came into the season basing its success on a powerful defensive front, while no less than six backs had runs of ten yards or longer. All in all this was a really successful rushing day.

2) Block the corners - Pass

We noted in our preview that the Notre Dame corners were freakishly productive with their tackling against Air Force and that the Mids would have to sustain downfield blocks for the rushing attack to work. Looking at the game book from Saturday the Irish cornerbacks accounted for just five solo tackles, a clear indication that the next level blocking was working well. This would go hand in hand with the Mids racking up all those rushing yards and putting themselves in a position to win late. The wide receivers should be proud of their all-around effort last weekend.

3) Make momentum swinging plays - Pass

This is a pass with an asterisk. Navy made all the momentum changing plays in this game for the first 59 minutes. The Mids had no turnovers and no penalties, playing as near flawlessly as possible and letting the Irish destroy themselves from within. A Stephon Tuitt personal foul helped set up the first Navy score, while the score that would have taken Notre Dame up 17-7 was called back on a holding penalty. Two plays later Navy got their first interception of the day to swing momentum in a huge way.

Penalties and turnovers continued to plague the Irish and momentum was fully in the Mids favor on that final drive. Unfortunately though the one mistake made all day by Keenan Reynolds came at the worst time as his pitch to DeBrandon Sanders was just out of his reach and the 9-yard loss that was taken on the play proved insurmountable. This again went to show that as hard as the Mids battled they need to play a perfect game to beat these big time BCS schools. Saturday was almost that day.

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