It's Friday and that means game prediction time. The Irish riding a three-game winning streak, and Navy enters the game with after an emotional win over Pitt last weekend. Both teams should be up and ready for Saturday's game. Which team will come out on top on Saturday?
The Irish have an advantage in this game because they faced Air Force last week. However, the Falcon's version of the option isn't the same as Navy's. We won't see as much attacking of the permitter as we saw last week with Air Force, and stopping the Navy quarterback will be the key to stopping Navy. After watching Jaylon Smith play last week, once adjustments were made, I don't see how Navy will have much of a chance in this game.
I do think the first quarter will be what it always is----a feeling out period. And I'm sure Notre Dame will have a few struggles along the way. What will be interesting is to see which Irish players will actually play this week.
I think Notre Dame's passing game is really starting to gel, and I can't see how Navy will be able to stop so much talent at wide receiver. Expect Tommy Rees to have another big day on Saturday.
Notre Dame: 34 Navy: 13
A similar opponent and a similar result.
Navy and Air Force aren't exactly the same and the score won't be exactly the same either, but it'll be close enough.
Facing an option attack for the second straight week, the Irish defense gets off to a quicker start and sniffs out any momentum the Midshipmen look for early. Navy is able to get some points in the first half thanks to a big play, but isn't able to put many drives together that chew up the clock and keep the Irish offense off the field. Navy adds another touchdown in the second half, but long after the game has been decided.
Like the defense, Tommy Rees starts fast and hooks up with DaVaris Daniels and TJ Jones for early touchdowns. The ground game takes over in the second half and like last week, Brian Kelly is able to get several reserves in the game in the fourth quarter. Look for another freshman receiver to catch his first touchdown pass this week in James Onwualu.
Notre Dame: 38 Navy: 14
Enter option offense number two. The luck of Notre Dame's schedule put first Air Force and then Navy in back-to-back weeks, so the Irish now get a second straight crack at controlling a high-powered running game.
If it means anything, and it usually doesn't when it comes to comparing scores, Navy beat Air Force 28-10 nearly a month ago. More importantly, the Falcons ran for 290 yards last week, but it was a largely irrelevant total. Air Force broke a couple big chunk running plays early when the Irish defense was still in its feeling-out phase, but the Falcons didn't score in the final 40 minutes of the game.
I thought the Irish would try to pound the ball at a weak Air Force run defense last week. That didn't happen when Air Force dared Tommy Rees to throw deep. Navy won't make that same mistake this week, but the Irish will take advantage on the ground. Cam McDaniel will get the majority of the carries and if George Atkinson doesn't step-up big in this one look for Tarean Folston to split more carries with McDaniel down the stretch this season.
Notre Dame: 44 Navy: 13
This game boils down to whether or not Notre Dame’s defense can stop Navy’s triple option. Can they make quarterback Keenan Reynolds pull the football from the fullback’s belly or pitch the football to the wingback? If Reynolds is allowed to run free then this will turn into a dogfight.
I’m confident though with the way the Irish played Navy last season and the way they handled the triple option when Air Force ran it last week. I believe defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has the riddle that is the triple option figured out.
The Notre Dame offense will score points against the Mids, but with a rainy, windy, and cold forecast on the horizon for Saturday, I don’t see it being a number like last week. I’m also factoring in the way Notre Dame has a tendency to not exactly play their best at home. They should be able to run it and pick their spots with the pass, I just don’t believe the conditions will lend themselves to the scoreboard lighting up like a pinball machine.
Today I asked my seven year-old son Max what he thought the score of the Notre Dame game will be this weekend. He asked me if Notre Dame was better and I told him they were favored to win by about 17 points. He proceeded to let me know the score will be Notre Dame 30, Navy 6.
That’s actually not bad.
Notre Dame: 30 Navy: 6