Trouble Brewing For Notre Dame?


The Fighting Irish host the Navy Midshipmen on November 16, 2019 in the 93rd meeting between these two teams.

While Notre Dame has dominated the series leading 76-13-1, recent history favors Navy to give the Irish a run for their money. This year, I believe trouble might be brewing for Notre Dame.

Historically Speaking

Prior to 2007, Navy had lost 43 straight games to the Irish, dating back to 1964.  In an triple overtime thriller the 1-7 Irish did what they could to battle back, but came up short.

Ever since then, the Naval Academy has had all the confidence they need to compete with the Irish.

Flash forward to 2010, Brian Kelly’s first season at Notre Dame – Navy heat checks the Irish’s and puts and end to Kelly’s three game win streak. Of course, by that time, the damage of Charlie Weis had already been done so Kelly is only partially to blame.

Again in 2016, Kelly and the Irish fall to Navy 28-27 in a game where they struggled to possess the ball – but we’ll get to that later.

The November to Remember

Perhaps the first most alarming statistic I uncovered this week was of the limited successes Navy has had over the Irish, 85% of their all-time wins have come in November.

Under The Radar

Navy ranks #24 in the AP poll this week. They quietly sit tied for first in West behind SMU in the American Athletic Conference. Navy is actually leading the nation in rushing offense per game with 357.9. This is recipe for disaster against Notre Dame’s 64th ranked rushing defense who just lost star defensive end Julian Okwara and linebacker Jack Lamb for the season to injury.

Control The Game

Notre Dame has improved the time of possession game over the past two weeks after struggling to do so early on in the season. This is imperative against a Navy team who have only attempted 62 passes in eight games.

Navy has been able to possess the ball an average of 32 minutes per game. This is good enough for the 19th rank nationally. Notre Dame still only averages 27 minutes per game, despite back-to-back outings with 31 minutes or more.

For reference, in the two losses suffered this season, Notre Dame averaged 25:26.  In a game of inches, every second also counts.

Playing To Win – Not Not To Lose

In order for Notre Dame to avoid said brewed trouble – the team will need to bring the same energy as they did against Duke last week.

Chris Finke had a breakthrough outing and will again need to be a reliable target for Ian Book. Book, despite some turnovers was able demonstrate the ability to lead the offense, riding the momentum of the Virginia Tech score in the final moments.

Book also made several plays with his legs and is actually the team’s second leading rusher and shares a three way tie with Tony Jones Jr.and C’Bo Flemister for four rushing touchdowns.

While Book has seen a major drop in completion percentage, he still has accounted for 30 touchdowns for the Irish this season.

I know – it shocked me a little bit too.

Check out the full side-by-side statistical breakdown here

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