Notre Dame versus Navy, is a game that everyone circles on their calendar. Most fans love the pomp and circumstance that the game brings. Whether it’s the Naval aviators in their fighter jets, the Naval Academy cadets in the stands, or both teams joining in the singing of each other’s Alma Mater, nothing beats the tradition that these two teams have between each other. And I can’t forget “God, Country, Notre Dame.”
The question coming into the game is: Will the Irish be able to stop the Midshipmen’s ground attack? Let’s dam the torpedoes and see how this one turns out.
Being that this is Navy, and they are a branch of the U.S. military, the Navy has to have a secret weapon. In Navy’s case, week in and week out, theirs is is the clock. The clock is any offense’s best friend and the Navy knows how to use it.
If it seemed like Navy had the ball all day on Saturday, it’s because they did. Navy possessed the ball for 42:42 while the Irish had the ball for only 17:18, a better than 2:1 ratio on ball possession. Ball control like that will typically win you ball games.
Aiding in the Navy’s clock control efforts were the coaching decisions made on 4th down. They converted on 4-6 attempts, allowing the Navy to run a staggering 80 plays compared to the Fighting Irish’s 46.
Thankfully, the Irish had a secret weapon too, Captain Greer Martini who had another career day against Navy. Last year, Martini had 4 individual tackles and 7 assisted. This year, Martini had 7 solo and 8 assisted while Julian Love had 10 tackles (all solo). Coach Elko has really turned this team around.
Kevin Stepherson stepped up big for the Irish in the 3rd and 4th Quarters. His 30 yard catch in the 3rd tied the game at 17-17 and his 9 yard catch in the 4th put the Fighting Irish up for good. Wimbush did his part as he threw for 164 yards and went 9-18 in completions after a rough start. It wasn’t a day to throw the ball and the stats reflect that, even though it felt like Wimbush had far more than 18 attempts.
In a game that Navy dominated in most of the stat categories including time of possession, plays attempted, and 3rd and 4th Down conversions, the only stat truly counts is the final score. The Fighting Irish pulled out a win in a messy, wet cold day in Notre Dame Stadium 24-17.
I have a saying, well a hashtag, when I talk about the important things in life when athletes are involved: #BeyondPlayingSports. Saturday night was no exception. Seeing our team join the Midshipmen and standing next to them during the Navy Alma Mater is a strong testament to the values of Notre Dame.
Seeing the Midshipmen join us on our end of the field for our Alma Mater is the greatest moment in the Fighting Irish season. In the end, it’s all about God, Country, Notre Dame.
People always talk about the best rivalries in sports. This rivalry between Navy and Notre Dame is more than a game, it’s about RESPECT!!!!
Cheers and #GoIrish!