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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Navy, 1970

Navy v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 02: The U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform a stadium flyover before the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium on November 2, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This week the Naval Academy heads to Notre Dame to play the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame and the Navy Midshipmen have played each other a total of 91 time with Notre Dame winning 79, Navy winning 13, and one tie. The current Notre Dame win streak is 3 (2017-2019), the longest Notre Dame win streak is 43 (1964-2006), and the longest Navy win streak is 2 (1933-1934). Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory was in 1970 (56-7), and Navy’s largest margin of victory was in 1956 (33-7). Here are some more facts about the rivalry:

Notre Dame’s all time record is 925-330-42 (.729), and Navy’s all time record is 727-584-57 (.552).

Notre Dame has 11 national championships and Navy has one.

Notre Dame has played in 37 bowl games, and Navy has played in 24.

Notre Dame’s bowl game record is 18-19-0 (.486), and Navy’s is 12-11-1 (.521).

Notre Dame has had 104 Consensus All-American’s to Navy’s 24.

Notre Dame has had 7 Heisman winners to Navy’s 2.

Notre Dame has spent 843 weeks in the AP Poll, while Navy has spent 139 weeks in the AP Poll.

Today I’ve found an excerpt from the December 4th Notre Dame Football review (in the Scholastic) of Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory over Navy in 1970.

The city of Philadelphia has borne the brunt of demeaning jokes galore. W. C. Fields once said, in his snide manner,

“I won a first-prize in a contest last week; it was a week in Philadelphia. Second-prize-was two weeks.”

Today’s game ranked right up there with W.C.’s commentary as one of the bigger jokes Philly has been a part of in a while.

Offensive tackle Gary Kos echoed team sentiment exactly when he said,

“I really hate to play in one of these games. There is nothing you can do to impress people. If you win big then they say you’re piling on the score and if it’s close then some may say you don’t have too much.”

Probably the most intricate maneuvers of the afternoon weren’t found on the gridiron at all. Trying to navigate one’s car down Broad Street to JFK Stadium and then succeeding in getting your car parked for a strategic getaway were, perhaps, the tensest moments of the afternoon. (If, of course, you discount the difficulty of finding Broad Street and JFK Stadium.) One ND student actually parked his car and entered the total emptiness of Franklin Field, only to discover to his dismay that there was actually more than one football stadium in Philadelphia.

But thousands of residents from South River, New Jersey, had no trouble at all in locating the site of their local hero’s “Philadelphia Debut.” They turned out in droves, wearing red and white straw hats with the number “7” outlined on the rim. They were on hand to watch Joe Theismann, their own “South River Road Runner,” guide the Irish to win number six and a 56-7 thrashing of the Naval Academy. (For those of you who may have been keeping stats, that makes it Notre Dame 107, Service Academies 7, for the year 1970).

For the first quarter, at least, tie game resembled some semblance of a “struggle” between two football teams. Darryll Dewan, playing for a shaken-up Ed Gulyas, carried the ball six times for thirty yards and a touchdown as the Irish drew first blood on an eighty yard march after the opening kickoff.

Two Ade Dillon passes to Karl “Mike-McNallenis-the-best-college-quarterback-in-the-country” Schwelm for 57 yards brought the Middies to the Irish 5. And, before the Irish defense knew what had happened, Dillon had sneaked the ball in for the tying score.

Simply outrageous. Nowhere in the script for today’s comedy did it read that “Navy takes kickoff after Notre Dame TD and drives for score.” Yep, that certainly was a mistake on the Middies part to assume a free interpretation of the text. The Irish defensive unit, a group of strict-interpreters all the way, shut the Middies off for the rest of the afternoon. Thirteen times the defense forced the Middies to turn the ball over to the Road Runner and his Gang. And seven of those times the offense drove the ball over Navy’s goal line.

Theismann’s aerial bombs were accurate to within 75%, as he delighted the home town fans by hitting 13 of 17 passes against a hapless Middle defense. Twice he found his pet receiver, Tom Gatewood, open for scores. Gatewood’s second TD reception brought the junior receiver to within one of Jim Seymour’s record 16 career tallies.

But it was the Irish ground attack that really sank the fleet from Annapolis. By the final gun the Irish had piled up 408 rushing yards and six rushing TD’s. These statistics become even more humiliating for Navy’s hordes when one realizes that they were distributed, quite evenly, among ten different Irish, backs.

And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, consider this: Scott Hempel alone outscored the Middies’ offense with his own eight PAT’s. Oh, well, there’s always the Army game, eh Midshipmen?

Cheers & GO IRISH!