FACTS & STATS: Site: New Meadowlands Stadium (82, 566) -- East Rutherford, New Jersey. Television:CBS. Home Record: ND 3-1, Navy 2-0. Away Record: ND 1-1, Navy 2-1. Neutral Record: ND 0-0, Navy 0-1. Conference Record: ND 0-0, Navy 0-0. Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 71-11-1.
GAME NOTES: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Navy Midshipmen continue their rivalry this weekend at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Irish own a commanding 71-11-1 advantage over Navy in a rivalry that dates all the way back to 1927 and has been played every year since. Last season however, it was the Mids who prevailed, taking a 23-21 decision at Notre Dame.
To the present, ND heads into the contest with a full head of steam, having won three straight games following a losing streak of the same length. The most recent of the victories came this past Saturday, a 44-20 thumping of Western Michigan. Brian Kelly's Irish club now owns a 4-3 record for the first time since 1999.
Navy meanwhile, used a late score to come away with a 28-21 victory over SMU this past weekend. It was the second victory in a row for the Midshipmen, who have been involved in five games decided by eight points of fewer thus far, winning three of them.
Dayne Crist threw for three TDs and ran for another, as ND routed WMU this past weekend. It was another strong performance from the emerging QB, who has now totaled 18 TDs (14 passing) against only five INTs on the season. Crist has plenty of weapons at his disposal to help him succeed, including Michael Floyd, who leads the team with 44 catches, 624 receiving yards and six TDs. Those numbers were helped by last weekend's performance when Floyd reeled in nine passes for 157 yards and three TDs. Cierre Wood also enjoyed a nice day with 94 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Armando Allen though, is the go-to back for the Irish despite being mostly rested with a hip flexor last weekend, and he leads the team with 448 yards for the year.
The Irish did a nice job on defense versus WMU last weekend, especially after the break when they allowed just a field goal. Overall, the defense permitted just 314 total yards, while forcing four turnovers. ND has given up a few too many yards on the year, allowing 385.9 total ypg, but the defense has done a nice job in recording 14 takeaways, including 10 INTs. Pressuring opposing QBs has helped the defense come up with so many picks, as ND has registered 19 sacks after notching four last weekend. Ethan Johnson had 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in the win over WMU, while Manti Te'O logged 10 stops. Te'O has been a tackling machine this season and he tops ND with 79, including five for a loss.
Alexander Teich ran for a pair of TDs in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner on a four-yard scamper with 1:38 left, lifting Navy to a 28-21 win over SMU. The steady FB finished the game with a career-high 95 yards for Navy, which amassed 252 yards on the ground. Navy's option attack is churning out 259.9 rushing ypg on the season and is paced by QB Ricky Dobbs, who has run for 379 yards and five scores. Dobbs can also get the job done with his arm when given the chance, passing for four TDs thus far. Last weekend, Dobbs passed for 84 yards and a score, while adding 62 yards on the ground. Gee Gee Greene followed Dobbs with 48 rushing yards and a score versus SMU, and he has been a valuable part of the offense this year. He not only ranks third on the team with 274 rushing yards, but Greene also leads the club with 14 receptions.
Facing a good SMU offense, Navy's defense did a rather solid job in permitting just 21 points. Furthermore, the defense made the biggest play of the game when Tyler Simmons picked off a pass deep in SMU territory to setup the game- winning TD run by Teich. The Mids forced three turnovers in all, helping to compensate for some of the 375 yards the defense allowed. Navy, though, did give up 254 of those yards through the air and that is well above the 160.2 passing ypg the unit is surrendering for the season. This part of the defense will surely be tested once again this weekend by ND's stout passing attack. Aaron McCauley paces the defense with 50 stops and he had eight of them last weekend.
The Irish have things working for them right now and with another big game from Crist, expect them to extend their winning streak this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 34, Navy 14
Saturday, October 23rd, 12:00 p.m. (et)