Tim O'Malley -- PublisherNotre Dame fans lamented their team's ability to stop Navy's triple-option attack in back-to-back losses the bridged the end of the Charlie Weis and the beginning of the Brian Kelly era. And while a combined 715 rushing yards produced by the Midshipmen in those wins --- wait, that can't be right, 715? -- served as the impetus for defeat, it's also true that Notre Dame's offense came up short, managing just 60 rushing yards in the 2009 loss under Weis, and 106 in 2010 with Kelly calling the shots.
Since, Kelly and the Irish offense have produced 106 points over their last two meetings with Navy. They won't hit the half-century mark for the third straight season Saturday, but there'll be plenty of yards and enough points produced to feel comfortable throughout.
Navy's bend-but-don't-break Cover 2 defensive scheme will test Tommy Rees and the offense's patience inside the red zone. It'll likely force multiple field goal attempts after long drives, and an additional turnover, either on downs or from a wayward Rees toss, would go a long way toward making this a second-half game.
But Rees is playing too well and so too is the Irish defense for the Mid's to prevail Saturday. Since Navy last beat Notre Dame, Kelly and the Irish have proven a tough out at home and an even tougher out in close games. This one will be closer than most think, but Irish fans won't be sweating (much) late.
Notre Dame 33 Navy 17
Anna Hickey -- Recruiting ReporterI think no doubt Navy will be a tougher opponent than what the Irish got from Air Force last weekend. Brian Kelly emphasized how Notre Dame won't have as easy a time picking up chunk yards on down the field plays (aka Navy's defensive backs actually play defense), so Notre Dame's run game will more important on Saturday. Even so, Notre Dame's offensive unit, particularly the wide receiving corp and Tommy, are starting to gel, and I think they'll move the ball pretty well against the Midshipmen.
Eyes will be on the freshmen on D again this week as Jaylon Smith probably goes for the quarterback in most run situations and Cole Luke and Devin Butler will be utilized close to the line. Navy quarterback Keenan Robinson has been hyped up, even by Kelly, so the defense, especially the front line, should know not to take him lightly.
Notre Dame 34 Navy 21
SeattleNDFan -- ModeratorAir Force the week before Navy is probably the best possible sequence for the Irish in that they have had a full game now to adjust to the option attack. Navy runs the fullback a whole lot more than Air Force did, though, so this is a game where Stephon Tuitt, Sheldon Day and company will need to shine. Jaylon Smith and Prince Shembo will need to stop the QB and the Irish will likely repeat their strategy from a year ago of bringing up an extra DB to take the pitch man, likely Cole Luke or Devin Butler since Elijah Shumate, who is nearly ideally suited for that role, is recovering from a hamstring issue.
On offense, this is another defense that Tommy Rees and company should do very well against. They will likely not copy Air Force's ill fated scheme to man up on the wideouts and stack the box and instead play a soft shell, forcing Rees and company to execute 10-12 plays per drive to score.
Because of this, the score will likely be lower than the Air Force game. The wild card is sophomore QB Keenan Robinson, who has been described as another Ricky Dobbs but with better option football skills and a stronger arm. However, he is hobbling with an ankle injury and may not be at full speed. If Navy wins this game, it will be because Robinson has a Devin Gardner-esque day.
I don't think the Irish will allow that Saturday, but if they had not just seen the option last week, I would be quite concerned. As it is, I think they (specifically Jaylon and Shembo) will handle Robinson, although like last week he will likely get a early score and the Navy reserves will likely get a late garbage score as well.
Notre Dame 38 Navy 17
Amruther24 -- ModeratorIt was probably too much to ask to come out of Colorado Springs last week without some defensive injuries. Notre Dame comes into the Navy game likely down Ishaq Williams and with Louis Nix and Sheldon Day hurting. Given the schedule ahead, the question becomes, does Notre Dame need those guys to beat Navy? After seeing the perimeter speed of guys like Jaylon Smith and KeiVare Russell last week, I don't think they do. Navy executes the triple option better than anyone in the country, but Notre Dame got their warm up against it last week. Keenan Reynolds is certainly good, but he hasn't seen the size and speed that he'll encounter this week.
Expect another big game from Tommy Rees as he continues to incorporate some of the younger guys into the passing game and I think Folston gets his first taste of the end zone. Notre Dame 38 Navy 17
Morrissey79 -- ModeratorEver since ND's debacle against Navy in 2010, the Irish have easily finished off option opponents. I expect this week to be no different - Rees will have another big day, the running backs will show signs of greatness (while also signs of inconsistency), T.J. Jones will catch another TD pass (because that's what he does), and the defense will rotate a lot of guys in and out. ND 41 Navy 17
BNolan -- ModeratorService academy, Part Deux.
Navy will represent a little more of a challenge than Air Force did last week, but if the Irish, even hampered by injuries, play fundamental football, it should be a double digit victory again. Especially if Cam plays without his helmet.
ND 33 Navy 17
KurzND -- ModeratorND riding a 3-game winning streak into he top 25. Expect that to to turn to four in a row this Saturday.
Navy is better than Air Force however even without Nix, Day, and Ishaq the Irish should still be able to score more than enough points to win. ND will be able to pass but will need to run the ball to take pressure off of a depleted ND DLine. ND needs to focus on stopping the Navy FB as Jaylon and the corners will contain outside runs.
ND gets up early and forces Navy out of their comfort zone and is able to out score them. Notre Dame 38 Navy 17
GaviND -- ModeratorWeek two of the service academy portion of the schedule brings Navy to town this weekend to face a quickly improving Notre Dame squad.
While Navy is clearly the better of the two service academies in the schedule this season, they are overmatched across the board against the Irish.
Much like last week, I would expect the Midshipmen to have some success running the ball early on before the Irish adapt to this week's version of the option and ultimately put the clamps down.
Offensively, look for Tommy Rees to challenge the Navy defense much like he did last weekend. Additionally, given his performance a week ago, I'm expecting to see increased touches for emerging freshman Tarean Folston.
Regardless, I anticipate a relaxing and enjoyable Saturday afternoon as an Irish victory should never be in doubt.
ND 42 Navy 13