The Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Navy Midshipmen rivalry means a few things: respect, tradition, camaraderie, and defending the dreaded triple-option. Navy used to be a guaranteed victory on the Notre Dame schedules, now with Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo calling the shots, Navy games are coming down to the wire. Notre Dame once had a five decade long win streak against the Midshipmen. In the last 11 games, Navy has beaten Notre Dame 4 times.
So you’ll forgive me for being a bit tense heading into Saturday after a less-than-inspiring outing against Miami last weekend. I made the trek to South Bend for the final home game of the season and probably my last game of the season (bowl game-pending). LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING FOLKS, IT WAS COLD.
Navy possessed the ball for almost 75% of the game. The Midshipmen went for it on 4th downs (even 4th and longs) and chipped away at the Irish defense for 42 LONG minutes. The Irish defense barely kept the Midshipmen out of the end zone enough to pull one out, but in the end an interception and missed field goal made the difference. The improvement of the Notre Dame defense since 2016 can be seen in the outcomes of the two games.
The other good thing, when Notre Dame had the ball on offense (all 7 times) touchdowns were scored, passing looked much better than last weekend and Josh Adams RTDB. In a game where there are few opportunities to make plays on offense, it’s important to convert. Without the devastating punt return fumble, the game may have been a little more lopsided for the Irish.
This is an underrated tweet from the blog keepers.
Apparently Ken Niumatalolo double checked that Greer Martini would be graduating so that Navy wouldn’t have to face him again next year.
Walking off the field, Ken Niumatalolo checked with Greer Martini to make sure he’s graduating. Martini’s career best performances have all come against Navy, including today.— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) November 19, 2017
Like I said, it was very close game.
KNUTE ROCKNE DIDNT DIE FOR THIS— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) November 18, 2017
I don’t think Notre Dame had a lead from the opening drive until the fourth quarter. (I didn’t check the box score to verify this. Too lazy.)
Two Midshipmen blocked each other and Navy still gained 2 yards
This is self-explanatory.
Let the record show that Navy is not *always* perfect in running the option. Like when two Mids block one another, for example. pic.twitter.com/99qKMeU380— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) November 20, 2017
IT WAS COLD. VERY COLD.
Two weeks ago after the Wake Forest game I wrote this:
You see, true South Bend weather is not just so frigid that your nose hairs seize inside your nostrils, but is also so wet and miserable that the possibility of ever being dry, warm, and comfortable again completely fade from the horizon and you accept that in the future you will never again feel joy.
It’s almost like I knew the final game of the season in Notre Dame Stadium would bring the hands down coldest, wettest, worst-case-scenario weather of the season. It wasn’t just cold... it was borderline freezing, there was relentless, pounding rain, and frigid, blustering winds.
It wasn’t the coldest Notre Dame game I’ve ever attended (Northwestern, 2014) and it certainly wasn’t the wettest (Looking at YOU, Clemson 2015) but the temperature + precipitation was a near lethal one-two punch.
You hate to see it.
This was one of the most Notre Dame Notre Dame games of all the Notre Dame games. We had Knute Rockne inspired uniforms, shit weather, Senior Day, #MallowGate and so much more.
The Rockne uniforms made their debut and exit on Saturday. I was once skeptical about the uniforms, but from the stands they looked pretty cool. Subtle, yet different enough to satisfy my minuscule millennial attention-span. Only thing I wasn’t crazy about was them all having “Rockne” on the nameplate, but compared to other Notre Dame alternates from the past they weren’t that bad.
One thing I love about Notre Dame is how either completely unaware it is of the criticism and ridicule that is constantly surrounding the program or how little of a shit they give about what anyone else thinks.
if I'm a recruit I'm signing up to play for Notre Dame so I can wear a jersey with the name of a coach from the 1920s on my Senior Day— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) November 18, 2017
Notre Dame is constantly criticized (by non-Domers for the most part) for harping on past accomplishments and lame, dated traditions. It’s the reason why the school honored a long-deceased head coach on Saturday with throwback uniforms and video board treatments. It’s the reason why it took so long to update the stadium and finally add a freakin’ jumbotron. Notre Dame is obsessed with the past and with “tradition” and the fanbase is stereotyped as old and ornery.
Just about every college football program has these same problems and weird traditions. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson wore a Steve Fuller patch all last season to honor the formerly-retired number of a quarterback who played four decades ago. Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans are so ornery that Mississippi State had to beg their fans not to fight each other at the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. College football is full of traditions. Some are weird, some are fun, most are stupid and maybe making uniforms to honor Knute Rockne seems stupid for non-ND people, but it’s Notre Dame as hell, which to some people is still a good thing!
(P.S. no disrespect to Rodger Sherman, who will never read this, because he hates Notre Dame)
If you missed out on #MallowGate, you missed out on the most insignificant minor conspiracy of the weekend.
student section before kickoff vs the second quarter pic.twitter.com/Wki1cFUIPY— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) November 19, 2017
The ushers were cracking down on marshmallow throwing on Senior Day, which is both totally predictable and understandable. The highlight of my Senior Night was pelting marshmallows at my classmates during the third quarter. The lowlight was scraping bits of marshmallow goo mixed with field turf off of my Bean Boots with a steak knife after the game.
Apparently Notre Dame even commissioned OTHER STUDENTS to proclaim the anti-mallow message.
I was wondering where all the students were. They had a creative, anti- mellow video message from Bonzie during the game I thought that was good enough to keep them off the field....the kids threw them at each other anyway lol— Jim Shoesmith (@coach_shoe) November 19, 2017
Some Students still managed to get their mallows into the game despite fierce security and threatening emails from Notre Dame prior to the game.
ALSO, DID DOUG FLUTIE REALLY SAY THE STUDENTS USED TO PUT QUARTERS IN THE MARSHMALLOWS SO THEY COULD THROW THEM FARTHER?? ARE YOU PEOPLE KIDDING ME?? WERE YOU TRYING TO KILL EACH OTHER?
I saw @mvp86hinesward joining the marshmallow fight with the Notre Dame student section today after being pelted by a few while on camera.— Sean Gallagher (@GallagherRadio) November 18, 2012
Hines Ward is the best. If anyone has video of this send it to me. I’ll give you $3.
I didn’t tear up when Mike McGlinchy’s name was announced on the PA system, there was just a rain drop trickling out of my eye.
Senior Day is emotional as shit. Somewhere, in a parallel universe I am a 350 pound man walking out of the tunnel, gold helmet in hand, while the Rudy soundtrack is playing in the background.
THANK U SENIORS.
And now, for the finale. Go Irish, Beat Cardinal.