It was an uncomfortable game for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish until it wasn’t. At the end of the day, the Irish took out the Navy Midshipmen 34-6 in South Bend. The Irish more than doubled up the Middies with yard points, and despite hand-wringing from Notre Dame fans — the game was never, ever in doubt.
This is the type of game in which the Irish have such a talent advantage over Navy, that there is a big opportunity for really a really big game by a skill player. Wide receiver Kevin Austin definitely capitalized on the day with 6 receptions for 139 yards which included a 70 yard touchdown strike right before halftime.
Notre Dame is almost certainly going to need more from Kevin Austin for the rest of the season as fellow wide receiver Avery Davis went down with a knee injury. Davis got hurt on Kyren Williams touchdown run as he was blocking a Navy defender. It didn’t look good as teammates went over to Davis while he was in the injury tent to give him support. Brian Kelly didn’t offer any details as they will get an MRI first, and BK wouldn’t entertain position scenarios moving forward without Davis.
Avery has been a very key player this year, and has a knack for making a big catch when needed. However the Irish move forward should the worst be the case, it will be a blow to an offense that has got better over the course of the season.
BIG GUTS INSIDE
When you’re playing against the triple option, job number one is stopping the fullback. Notre Dame did a really good job at that most of the day, and allowed only 76 yards on 25 carries from the fullback position. A key component of that success is the combination of guys playing on the inside. Between Kurt Hinish, Jayson Ademilola, Jacob Lacey, and Howard Cross, the group had 19 tackles with 4 TFL and a sack. Hinish alone had 10 tackles, 2 TFL, and a sack — and got the game ball for his service.
At this point in the season we shouldn’t have to highlight the freshmen, as so many of them have become major contributors to the team. BUT... I was told Brian Kelly doesn’t play
freshmen, so here’s a quick rundown of some of their contributions:
- OL Joe Alt starter at left tackle
- RB Logan Diggs - 8 carries for 59 yards and 1 TD
- WR Deion Colzie - 1 catch for 31 yards
- WR Lorenzo Styles - 1 catch for 13 yards
- QB Tyler Buchner - 1-1 for 11 yards and 2 carries for 9 yards
- DE Kahanu Kia - 4 tackles
- LB Prince Kollie - 3 tackles
Don’t shoot the messenger, but Jack Coan had another good game. The Irish actually deviated from the quick drop offense against Navy, and tried to run more of the style of offense they used in the first half of the season. While it didn’t turn out to be a disaster, it did help lead to the slow start in the first quarter. For the game, Coan was 23-29 (79%) for 269 yards and a touchdown. There were some unfortunate plays that included two sacks (one on a 4th down attempt) and not seeing a streaking Kevin Austin for a likely TD.
- Notre Dame had 10 possessions and Navy had 11
- There were 8 3-and-outs between the two teams (5 Navy, 3 ND).
- 9 punts (5 Navy, 4 ND)
- Both teams had 7 play drives that ended on a turnover on downs.
- 1 safety
So I guess it was a typical Notre Dame / Navy game? Navy also had the ball almost 10 minutes longer than the Irish — which is about the same amount of time (9:36) as the Middies’ first drive of the second half which went 71 yards on 14 plays for a field goal.
Notre Dame covered the 21 point spread in this game. After a scoreless 3rd quarter, the Irish got a safety to go up 19-6. After the Kyren Williams 20 yard TD run ro go up 25-6, Irish fans were delighted to see Kelly decide to go for the 2 points — which Braden Lenzy pulled in on a pass from Coan. The final touchdown from Logan Diggs to make the final 34-6.
Notre Dame hasn’t lost to Navy inside Notre Dame Stadium since the Charlie Weis era dropped both the 2007 and 2009 games.
Notre Dame has now won 39 straight games against unranked opponents. The longest streak in the country by a country mile.