Fresh off their most impressive victory of the season, the 20th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will look to carry the good vibes into Saturday’s contest against the Navy Midshipmen in the first of three rivalry games to close the regular season.
The Fighting Irish dominated the previously unbeaten and then-No. 4 Clemson Tigers 35-14 last week, and now must be wary of a letdown against the host Midshipmen.
The win over Clemson got the Fighting Irish bowl eligible, something that wasn’t a foregone conclusion a month ago following a home loss to the Stanford Cardinal.
“It was a special night, one that you kind of go back and reflect on. The atmosphere was unreal,” coach Marcus Freeman, who has quieted the critics with three straight wins, told the media. “I challenged our guys. I said we create the advantage here (Notre Dame Stadium). We make it a home field advantage by the way that we play.”
With starting quarterback Tai Lavatai lost for the season two weeks ago, the Midshipmen have turned to junior Xavier Arline to lead the offense.
Arline, who is the starting attackman for the Navy lacrosse team, came on to score the winning touchdown in overtime against Temple prior to rushing for 87 yards in a 20-10 loss to Cincinnati last week. He isn’t much of a threat in the passing game – he has attempted five passes – but averages five yards per carry.
Navy did not complete a pass in the Temple game, the eighth time that has happened under coach Ken Niumatalolo. The Midshipmen are 7-1 in those games.
Let’s check the latest college football odds, stats, injury reports, and college football lines for Notre Dame vs Navy. We’ve plenty of NCAA football odds for you to consider.
Notre Dame tries to meet challenge of triple option
After some early season struggles, the Notre Dame rush defense has picked it up of late, holding three of its last four opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground.
Syracuse and Clemson combined to get 3.02 yards per carry, but Navy presents a unique challenge with the triple option and cut blocking at the line of scrimmage.
Freeman has some experience facing it as the defensive coordinator of Cincinnati and Notre Dame, and defensive coordinator Al Golden has a wealth of knowledge from his time at Temple and Miami, who faced a triple-option team in Georgia Tech.
“He (Golden) had some good ideas and we watched a lot of film of different things they did defensively to give us a new way to defend the triple option,” Freeman told the media. “We’ll find a way to simulate cut blocks. I don’t know if it will be live.”
Wolfpack Defense Will Try To Make Things Tough for Hartman
In addition to being an explosive runner, Maquel Haywood is a threat in the return game for the Midshipman. The sophomore has averaged 25 yards per kickoff return in his career, including 31 yards per return last season, the third-highest average in school history.
In the running game, Haywood has gone for 6.4 yards per carry. Only Arline, who has gained five yards per carry, has gained more yards per attempt among Midshipmen with at least 33 carries. Fullback Daba Fofana leads Navy in rushing yards (502) and rushing touchdowns (five), but the sophomore is more of a short yardage option.
Notre Dame vs Navy Game Injuries
Notre Dame vs Navy Head-to-Head
The Fighting Irish have claimed the last four meetings and are 1-9 against the Midshipmen since 2011 to push their series advantage to 80-13-1, including 47-8-1 in neutral site games.
Notre Dame, which has outscored the Midshipmen 154-56 in the last four games, and Navy have met every season since 1927 with the exception of 2020 because of COVID-19.
Notre Dame vs Navy Game Information
- Game: Notre Dame (6-3) vs Navy (3-6)
- Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
- Day/Time: Saturday, Nov. 12, Noon ET
- Notre Dame vs Navy Live Stream: ESPN
Notre Dame vs Navy Betting Lines
Notre Dame vs Navy Picks & Predictions
The Fighting Irish have been installed as 16½-point favorites on the NCAA football odds.They have covered that number just once in three games against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium, but this will be the second time. The under also looks like a solid option in a matchup of two teams that rank in the top 18 in the country in rushing attempts per game.