Staff Picks: Notre Dame vs. Navy

Irish Illustrated’s staff gives its predictions for Saturday afternoon’s matchup Navy and triple-option offense No. 2 for 2015.

With Tim Prister’s weekly game preview still to come, the rest of the Irish Illustrated staff offers a few thoughts on this season’s “Sandwich” game for Notre Dame – Saturday’s matchup against Navy in South Bend.

Pete Sampson
This Navy squad is good enough to beat a bad Notre Dame team. But this
is not a bad Notre Dame team, it’s a squad simply coming off a low point at Clemson. DeShone Kizer will manage the unique pace of this matchup where there’s a pressure on Notre Dame’s offense to keep Navy at a distance. The Mid’s will have more success against Brian VanGorder than Georgia Tech did because they own a better quarterback. But that’s not going to make Notre Dame uncomfortable at the levels of the past two years. The Irish are just too good. It’s the best Navy squad Brian Kelly has faced. But it’s the best Notre Dame team Brian Kelly has fielded too.

Notre Dame 34 Navy 24
2015 Prediction Record: 5-0


Tim O’Malley
In retrospect (this coming from the guy that picked Georgia Tech), Navy appears better equipped in two ways to hang tough with the Irish in South Bend. First, quarterback Keenan Reynolds – he of the six pass/rush touchdowns vs. Notre Dame over the last two seasons – is a bear to contain. The senior triggerman is a hard-nosed, patient leader that will battle for every inch Saturday afternoon, just as he has en route to the precipice of the all-time FBS touchdown record (he’s five short).

Second, Reynolds leads a Navy squad that has proven it won’t fold inside the House that Rockne Built. This moment isn’t too big for the Mid’s, they relish it, and have continually shown well – 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 trips to South Bend. But the spread will be the only place Navy wins Saturday. (For more on this rare matchup between the programs when both are legitimately “good,” read our Irish Notes to be published shortly.)

Notre Dame 42 Navy 30
2015 Prediction Record: 3-2


Jack Freeman
Navy sails into Notre Dame Stadium with an undefeated record and one of their best defensive teams in many years. The Irish are playing with a chip on their shoulder from the slow start that caused their loss against Clemson. Notre Dame has it’s flaws (for example: inconsistent play from the secondary) but possess too much talent for Navy to handle over four quarters. Look for a big day from the DeShone Kizer to Will Fuller connection.

Notre Dame 33 Navy 24
2015 Prediction Record: 3-2


Anna Hickey
Notre Dame rebounds from last Saturday with commanding performances across the board from the offense, defense and special teams against Navy. The Midshipmen are talented enough to cover the spread and rack up yards on the ground against the Irish. But Notre Dame’s leaders won’t let a repeat of last year occur. DeShone Kizer takes another step forward in becoming a reliable and championship-level quarterback, C.J. Prosise churns out over 100 yards on the ground, and Will Fuller takes two in for scores. The secondary forces at least one turnover and Joe Schmidt thrives.

Notre Dame 36 Navy 21
2015 Prediction Record: 4-1


Jake Brown
Let's start with the obvious: Notre Dame needs to win this game for the rest of its season to carry any meaning. The good news, Navy won't be able to do much to stop the Irish offense. There will be a time or two where Drue Tranquill's energy and execution against the option will be sorely missed. But overall, Notre Dame will be able to out-talent Navy on its way to a comfortable rebound win. 

Notre Dame 37 Navy 17
2015 Prediction Record: 5-0


Steve Hare
It shouldn’t be this close but the Irish have a way of always playing down to their opponent. Notre Dame’s offense won’t have it easy as Navy’s defense has allowed just 14 touchdowns in four games (the Irish have allowed 14 in five games). Who steps up to be the hero on Saturday? In a close game it could come down to the foot of freshman kicker Justin Yoon.

Notre Dame 31 Navy 30
2015 Prediction Record: 4-1


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