The Notre Dame Fighting Irish took all they could handle in a hangover game against the Navy Midshipmen on a rainy and miserable Saturday afternoon in South Bend. As marshmallows flew at Notre Dame on senior day, the Irish squeaked by the Naval Academy, 24-17.
In the first half, Navy ran the ball and bled the clock as they typically do, ending the half with a huge advantage in time of possession: 20:19 to 9:33. The Notre Dame defense exhibited some sloppy tackling, and the offense was unable to sustain any real drives until the last minute. After a Navy touchdown, the Notre Dame offense got the ball down 10-3 with a minute left in the half. Brandon Wimbush was able to lead a seven-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a rushing touchdown by the Notre Dame quarterback, and the score was 10-10 at the half.
Navy opened up the second half with a drive that only consumed about eight minutes (7:59, to be exact) and ended with a touchdown pass. At that moment, it seemed like the season hung in balance, and the Notre Dame offense responded. The Irish went 78 yards in five plays over 1:28, led by Josh Adams on the ground and capped off with a touchdown pass from Wimbush to Kevin Stepherson. Stepherson would catch another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, and the Irish would not relinquish the lead following that.
It took a failed trick play on a fourth down to finally end the threat Navy posed to Notre Dame. The Irish squeaked by with a little bit of luck, but there were bright spots. Troy Pride Jr. got his first career interception down the stretch in this one. It was Pride’s first start, and he played well all game. On the other hand, both Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown left the game with injuries and did not return. Kevin Stepherson is like, really good, though, so there’s that.
For Notre Dame, it was an uninspired performance on a crappy, rainy, cold day. But, it was senior day against Navy, weird stuff happens, and the Irish ultimately won. That’s the November Notre Dame football team we all know and love. On to Stanford, whether the Irish are ready or not.