Notre Dame - Navy Preview

Navy (1-7) takes on Notre Dame (8-1) in the 76th installment of the nation's longest intersectional rivalry, this time at Ravens Stadium in Baltimore.

Navy

Matchup

Notre Dame

Go Navy Offense: While Navy has shown they can move the ball almost at will, they also have shown that yards mean nothing if you can't hang onto the ball.  Notre Dame, while no means an offensive juggernaut, should still be able to do just about anything they want to do offensively against the porous Mids - especially considering Navy has absolutely no one that can match up with Irish WR Arnaz Battle. Advantage, Irish. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Go Navy Defense: Notre Dame has already seen the triple option offense at Air Force, and they proved they can also stop it.  The only danger facing the Irish this week is a case of overconfidence because they've already stopped a more potent Falcon version of the option.  Notre Dame also has the nation's 7th ranked rushing defense, giving up a paltry 84.6 yards per game.  With Courtney Watson at linebacker and Thorpe Award semi-finalist Shane Walton patrolling the secondary, the Irish has too much talent to overlook.  Advantage, Notre Dame. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Go Navy

Special Teams: Notre Dame by a landslide.  PK Nicholas Setta is a Groza Award candidate, and P Joey Hildbold (a Ray Guy Award semi-finalist) is averaging 40.3 yards per punt. He has dropped 45 percent of his punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line, including nine inside the 10-yard line.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Go Navy Coaching: You simply have to admire the job Tyrone Willingham has done this season at Notre Dame.  He gets the job almost by default after George O'Leary lied his way out of it and no one else seemingly wanted it.  He inherited a team that went 5-6 last year, and was largely predicted to be out of the top 25 again this year.  Instead, he starts out 8-0 and has the Irish on the fringe of the BCS, depending on how things play out the rest of the year.  While I am a firm believer in Paul Johnson and a die-hard Irish Hater (tm), Ty Willingham is still my pick for Coach of the Year.  Advantage, Notre Dame. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Go Navy Intangibles: Navy seems to play the Irish tougher in South Bend than they do in the roaming "home" games.  Stir in a ticked-off Notre Dame team still steaming from handing Boston College a win last week, and all signs point to another Irish advantage. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Go Navy Prediction: While over the last 38 years there hasn't been a good time for Navy to face Notre Dame, this probably ranks in the top 5 worst times to play them.  Navy doesn't really have the talent to pull the "upset of biblical proportions" this season, nor will Tyrone Willingham "pull a Davie" and let them hang around.  Irish win this one big, 52-7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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