Navy Midshipmen (6-3 SU, 4-3-2 ATS, 4-5 O/U) at No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS, 6-4 O/U)
Navy broke a three-game losing streak with a thrilling 43-40 home win over SMU. They’ll take a break from conference play to face a Notre Dame squad coming off getting smashed at Miami-Florida, 41-8. So much for title hopes for the Fighting Irish, though you never know with so many top 10 teams losing two games or more. Notre Dame should be thinking about Navy and their 28-27 loss to the Mids last season from EverBank Field in Jacksonville. This game will be played in South Bend at Notre Dame Stadium.
Whio will quarterback Navy this week?
Junior Zach Abey had a pretty good season running the option offense at Navy, passing for 717 yards with six TDs and six picks. He also had 1,202 rushing yards with 13 TDs but struggled through injuries and fumbling problems. Instead of turning to backup quarterback Garret Lewis against SMU, head coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to try slotback Malcolm Perry instead. All the speedster did was rush for 282 yards and four touchdowns, which was the third-highest rushing yardage in school history. Navy had to go to Lewis late in the game when SMU came back from 34-11 to tie the game at 40-40 with 3:32 left. Perry injured his ankle and Lewis drove the team down the field late in the game, thanks to two long runs from fullback Anthony Gargiulo, who finished with a career-high 145 yards and a TD.
Lewis could have scored on a late TD run but decided to take a knee at the SMU one. Instead, the Mids went for the field goal from J.R. Osborn for 18 yards as time expired. That was probably a wise thing considering their pass defense allowed 261 yards and gave up two last passing touchdowns from Ben Hicks in the second half. On the season, Navy ranks first in the nation in rushing yards per game (369.9ypg) and 128th in passing yards (98.7ypg). They rank 90th against the pass (244.3ypc) and that’s been a problem all season.
Irish struggle to compete against Hurricanes
This was the big game of the day and the only team that showed up was Miami-Florida. The Hurricanes jumped out to a 27-0 lead at the half punctuated by a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown by Trajan Bandy. Notre Dame finally scored a touchdown with 12 seconds left in the third quarter on a 14-yard pass from Brandon Wimbush to Alize Mack. After they converted the 2-point conversion, the ‘Canes lead was 34-8. It was lights out by then and so was the Notre Dame playoff hopes.
It’s tough to win when you produce 261 yards of offense and just 109 on the ground on 36 carries. They also turned it over four times, including two picks from Wimbush, who completed 10 of 21 passes for 119 yards. Defensively, they weren’t bad, but Miami did what they wanted in the first half and held on in the second half. Miami threw for just 137 yards, but they ran for 237 yards. It was a rough night for Wimbush, who is having a strong season, with 1,405 yards passing with 12 TDs and four picks but is completing just 51.1 percent of his passes. But he’s a threat to run with 663 yards and 13 TDs. Josh Adams leads the Irish with 1,231 yards rushing. On the season, Notre Dame is averaging 471.7 yards per game on offense and 303.2 rushing yards (4th) per game. They allow 375.4 yards per game and just 140.9 rushing yards (38th).
- 5-2-1 ATS last 8 road games.
- 23-11-2 ATS last 36 after a SU win.
Notre Dame is:
- 0-4 ATS last 4 in November.
- 2-10 ATS vs. Navy at home last 12.
Navy is a tough team to defend and they have three options at quarterback. Even if Perry can’t go, they’ll go back to Abey or even Lewis. They can run the ball on anybody and even though the defense is suspect, that’s a lot of points to lay if you are picking ND. I’ll take Navy.
Both of these teams can put up points. Navy can defend the run some but they are bad against the pass. Most teams usually struggle against the option because they may see it just once or twice all year. That being said, there should be a lot of points in this one. Navy is 6-2 Over last 8 on the road in this series and 16-5 Over last 21 in November.