Navy falls to Irish, 27-9

East Rutherford, N.J.-- The clock struck midnight for the Cinderella Navy football team. Navy suffered its first defeat of the 2004 season at the hands of the Irish, 27-9. The Irish rolled for over 330 yards total offense, including 212 yards rushing to hand Navy the loss at Giants Stadium.

The Irish were led by running back Ryan Grant who rushed for 116 yards and two scores on just 20 carries.

Notre Dame wasted no time in getting on the board. With 12:54 remaining in the first quarter, running back Marcus Wilson scampered 33 yards to cap a 6 play, 81 yard Irish drive.

Navy's first possession ended on the Irish 32 when senior fullback Kyle Eckle's run came up 1-yard short after the Navy staff tried to convert on a fourth-and-five situation. The Irish then countered by launching a 7 play, 58 yard drive which culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Grant, his first of the day to extend the lead to 14-0.

The Irish defenders harassed the Midshipmen most of the afternoon. They limited Navy to just 260 total offensive yards, including only 44 yards passing on 6 attempts. Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco was limited to just 19 yards in 24 carries. Junior linebacker Brandon Hoyte racked up 16 tackles and 1 sack to lead the Notre Dame defense.

Notre Dame would extend their lead to 17-0 just before halftime when D.J. Fitzpatrick connected on a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Midway through the third quarter Navy would get their first score of the day when George Blumenfeld booted a 29-yard attempt which capped a 15 play, 81 yard Navy drive. It was Blumenfeld's only field goal attempt of the day.

Ryan Grant scored his second touchdown of the day on a 1-yard carry to cap a 13 play, 73 yard drive that put Notre Dame on top 24-3 with just 1:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Navy's Frank Divis scored his team's only touchdown when he rambled in from 5-yards to make the score 27-9 with just 4:19 remaining. A two-point conversion attempt that followed failed. Navy then had an unsuccessful onside kick attempt.

Kyle Eckel led Navy in rushing with 102 yards in 22 carries.

It was Navy's 41st consecutive loss to Notre Dame, the current longest winning streak by one opponent over another.

Notre Dame improves to 5-2 with the win. The Irish will host Boston College on Saturday. Navy falls to 5-1 and will get a visit from Rice Saturday in Annapolis. Top Stories