Three Keys Revisited Navy vs. Notre Dame

In a crazy, back and forth battle on Saturday night the Mids came up just short against an Irish team which found its National Title credentials pushed all the way and then some. Navy rushed back from 21 points down, stayed in it late, and can look back on a handful of plays which altered the course of the game.

More than anything though Notre Dame has quarterback Everett Golson to thank for putting the team on his shoulders and hauling them to a 49-39 win. Here is a look back at the three keys.

1) Run through the Irish – Pass

Anything over 300 yards was going to be a pass here and the Mids made it to 336 on Saturday. Noah Copeland was the go to back, raking up 138 yards on 16 carries (with a long of 56) making the young Notre Dame defense pay inside with his physical running style.

It was once again the mix of runners which the Mids could throw at the Irish, along with the unique blocking schemes, which kept Notre Dame off balance. The only disappointment within the run game was that it was difficult to Keenan Reynolds to get free as the defense was very read sound when it came to the quarterback, making sure to force the ball out of his hands. As a result he was held to just 47 yards on 18 carries and was held out of the end zone.

2) Make Notre Dame punt – Fail

There was one Notre Dame punt, which went for 45 yards, but this category really required multiple punts to be considered a success. The tone was really set which Golson hooked up with C.J. Prosise for a 78 yard touchdown strike on the games second play from scrimmage. Golson did pretty much whatever he wanted on Saturday, proving again how vital he is to Notre Dame and why he should be involved in any Heisman talking going forward.

Golson led the Irish to touchdown drives on each of their first four possessions and looked to be heading toward a fifth before half time when he was picked off. On the day he passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns, while running for three more. Two of these three touchdown runs were in the fourth quarter, quashing the Mids upset bid. If Navy are going to compete with teams of this caliber the defense simply has to find a way to get their opponents off of the field on a more regular basis so the offense has something to work with.

3) No more turnovers – Fail

Keenan Reynolds had a nice day passing the ball. He completed 6-of-15 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Anyone with any understanding of the option offense will know that under the principles of that attack those numbers are pretty solid. The only problem was that though Navy didn’t turn over the ball with a fumble this weekend, Reynolds did throw an interception. The pick was at a crucial time too as the Mids had just forced the first (only) Notre Dame punt of the night and had the ball down 42-31 with just over seven minutes left in the game. Margins are small in games like this and the Reynolds pick was a key play in terms of momentum for the rest of the game.

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