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Up Next: Notre Dame vs Navy

📷 credit: Irish Tribune

The #20 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-3) will host the Navy Midshipmen (3-4) on Saturday, as Notre Dame strives to keep their winning streak alive. This is a familiar opponent as these two teams have faced each other almost every year since the 1920s. Even though there have been some excellent games between these two teams, Navy appears to be on the downward swing of college football. However, Navy presents a unique challenge to any team because of the triple-option attack that is rarely seen in college football today. Coach Marcus Freeman had this to say on Thursday on facing Navy…

"I think there is a whole bunch of different things that go into this game. The history of the rivalry and the meaning behind it and how it came about, but also its Veterans Weekend. It's personal to me with my father serving and being a veteran. It's a great reminder of the bigger picture. We're fortunate enough to play and coach this game that we love. We're fortunate to live in this country because of the many people that fight for our freedom. There's a lot of meaning behind this game.”

Game Details

Date: Saturday, November 12

Time: 12:00 PM ET

Where to Watch: ABC

📷 credit: @navyfb on Instagram

Series History

2021- Notre Dame 34-6

2019- Notre Dame 52-20

2018- Notre Dame 44-22

2017- Notre Dame 24-17

2016- Navy 28-27

2015- Notre Dame 41-24

2014- Notre Dame 49-39

2013- Notre Dame 38-34

2012- Notre Dame 50-10

2011- Notre Dame 56-14

2010- Navy 35-17

Notre Dame Leads 80-13-1

Breaking Down Navy

Since 2008, Navy has been led by head coach Ken Niumatalolo. Niumatalolo is the all-time winningest coach at Navy, but owns a 3-10 record against Notre Dame. Irish fans may recognize names like Roger Staubach, Malcolm Perry, and Keenan Reynolds, but this Navy team does not currently have players like that. Navy implores the triple option style of offense which can present a problem for many teams, but Notre Dame should be ready for whatever the Midshipmen throw at them.

Stacking Up Notre Dame vs Navy

Offensive Players to Know

Xavier Arline— QB/RB #7

2022 Stats: 191 rushing yards, 1 TD

Daba Fofana— FB #45

2022 Stats: 502 rushing yards, 5 TD

Anton Hall Jr.— FB #34

2022 Stats: 222 rushing yards, 2 TD; 62 receiving yards, 1 TD

Defensive Players to Know

John Marshall— LB #1

2022 Stats: 72 tackles, 7 passes defended, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Colin Ramos— LB #44

2022 Stats: 57 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception

Jacob Busic— DE #95

2022 Stats: 29 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles

📷 credit: @navyfb on Instagram

Keys to Victory

1. Attack the Triple Option that Navy Implores

Most coaches agree that the best way to shut down the triple option system is to attack it. Notre Dame must be aggressive in order to put Navy away early. If not, Navy is known for running the clock down and limiting offensive possessions. Marcus Freeman had this to say on Thursday…

“They're not just running the triple-option. They do a lot of different things and the offense has expanded. The ability to understand a little bit more on the offensive side of the ball in terms of what they're looking for and it, in turn, helps us defensively to find better ways to defend it.”

2. Notre Dame Must Score Points on their limited possessions.

The Irish have been better in recent weeks, but this offense has not been great at generating points when they need to on a regular basis. That must change against a Navy team that likes to limit possessions and drain the clock. If Notre Dame can come out and score points on multiple drives, then they should be able to win rather easily.

Final Take

This is not the same Navy team that many Irish fans remember from years past, but if the Irish are not prepared mentally and physically, they can lose to the Midshipmen. This will be the game that tells Irish fans whether or not this team has begun to turn the corner and execute at a high level no matter the opponent. This is the type of game that can continue to propel you into next season on a high note. Coach Freeman discussed this on Thursday…

“Wins are short-lived around here, especially during the middle of the season. It's the same thing after a loss. You have to move forward. You have to learn from every opportunity you can from the game, but understand the next opponent is on the horizon. Defensively, it's pretty easy to move forward because it's a totally different offense you have to prepare for. Offensively, it's the ability to turn on the film and say ‘this defense does some different things. They're really good at stopping the run and it's another challenge.’ I think our team understands we're on a destination for improvement. We have to continue to find ways to get better. That has been the challenge. Continue to stay focused and not let the praise or criticism really sway them one way or another in how they work, but continue to understand how hard and intentional we have to work to improve. We had a really good week of practice and we'll hopefully go out and have another good day today. We have a tough opponent on Saturday and we have to be ready to roll."

Go Irish!

📷 credit: Irish Tribune


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