Following its first victory in nearly a month, Notre Dame aims to build a winning streak for the first time this season when the Fighting Irish tangle with rival Navy on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. Consecutive losses and a bye week left the Irish at a disappointing 2-5 entering the final weekend of October, but they managed to get by Miami (Fla.) by a 30-27 margin at home.
Justin Yoon’s 23-yard field goal with 30 seconds left was the difference as Notre Dame was finally able to win a close one after dropping five games by an average of 5.6 points. “It just builds on them, all the pressure of trying to get out from the noise of not winning, so there’s definitely that, like the weight of not winning, certainly,” coach Brian Kelly told reporters this week. “But I think really what I felt more than anything else was them really enjoying the fact that they know now that [the losing] won’t be a hindrance.” The Irish have claimed five straight against the Midshipmen, who are coming off a 52-45 loss at USF that dropped them out of the national rankings. They have scored at least 42 points in each of their last three games and enter fifth in the nation in rushing (296.6 yards).
ABOUT NAVY (5-2): Senior Will Worth continues to run the show for the Midshipmen and is coming off a monster performance in which he threw for a career-high 299 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 129 yards and four scores. He is tied for third in the country with 13 rushing TDs and has at least one in seven straight games, the sixth-longest streak in program history. Junior fullback Chris High has chipped in 445 yards and five rushing scores while senior Jamir Tillman (23 catches, 362 yards) is the primary target when Navy goes to the air.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (3-5): There was plenty of buzz surrounding the play of defensive tackle Jarron Jones, who had seven tackles against Miami but six of them went for a loss. “Here’s a guy that’s completed his degree and obviously, has achieved a lot, but knows that there’s more for him out there and I’m sure he wants to continue to play at the next level,” Kelly told reporters. Junior DeShone Kizer threw for 263 yards and two TDs versus the Hurricanes and he managed to not throw an interception for the first time in seven games.
1. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 76-12-1 and has a 47-7-1 advantage in neutral site games.
2. Navy is 24-1 when winning the turnover battle over the past five years. Notre Dame is 19-1 under Kelly when it does not commit a turnover.
3. Irish RB Josh Adams is averaging 100.7 yards and 7.2 yards per carry in his team’s three wins.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 35, Navy 31