Notre Dame Fighting Irish Vs Navy Midshipmen Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Navy Midshipmen, New Meadowlands Stadium, E. Rutherford, NJ
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening line: Notre Dame -6
Current Line: Notre Dame -7
Opening Total: 49
Current Total: 50 1/2
Money Line: Notre Dame -275 / Navy +235

Notre Dame is a 7 point favorite over long time rival Navy at New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey

Notre Dame has won three games in a row after a three game losing streak. They are 4-3 and have an outside shot at a BCS bid if they can run the table. This week they take on the 4-2 Navy Midshipmen. Until 2007 the Irish dominated the series winning 43 in a row straight up. However, Navy has won 2 of the last 3, including a 23-21 victory last year in South Bend. Though Notre Dame did dominate the series in wins, Navy has traditionally done well against the number in all games going 113-82 since 1992 including 73-44 as an underdog.   The Irish have struggled against the college football point spread recently as a favorite only going 2-9 in the last two years. The last two games in this series have gone under the total.

Notre Dame is 4-3 and is outscoring its opponents 27-23 and outgaining them 400-385. The Irish are decent at stopping the run giving up only 130 yards a game, which is key when playing Navy and their triple option attack. stopping the pass has been slightly problematic for Notre Dame as they give up 255 yards a game. The Irish have a bend but don’t break defense that gives up a ton of yards but not really a lot of points. This is mainly due to forcing 14 turnovers and 19 sacks. The Irish have 13 turnovers of their own and ahve allowed 15 sacks. The offense is led by quarterback Dane Crist who has thrown for 1,855 yards, 14 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. he has also rushed for 4 touchdowns as well. Crist’s top targets are receivers Michael Floyd (44 catches, 624 yards, and 6 touchdowns) and Theo Riddick (38 catches, 406 yards, and 3 touchdowns) as well as tight end Kyle Rudolph (28 catches, 328 yards, and 3 touchdowns). The Notre Dame running game isn’t very effective gaining only 113 yards a game but Armando Allen Jr does have 96 carries for 448 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also has 15 catches but none for a touchdown.

Navy is 4-2 with losses to Maryland and Air Force. The biggest problem for the Midshipmen has been scoring in the red zone. They are 19/27 scoring in the red zone. It cost them victories against their rivals and some thing the Midshipmen must improve on if they hope to compete with the high octane Notre Dame offense. Every game for the Middies has been close. Apart from a 14 point victory against Louisiana Tech every other game has been decided by 8 points or less. Navy has only outscored its opponents 21-18, so they play a lot of close defensive struggles. They are strong against the pass giving up only 161 yards a game, but are a little vulnerable against the run giving up 163 yards a game. The Navy defense has forced 13 turnovers including 9 fumbles. They have only turned the ball over 6 times. The Navy triple option attack  is racking up a ton of rushing yards, as usual but it hasn’t translated to many points. They are rushing for 259 yards a game led by quarterback Ricky Dobbs who has just over 1,000 combined rushing and passing yards 9 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Dobbs has 132 carries for 379 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns, but Vince Murray, Gee Gee Greene, Alexander Teich and Andre Byrd all get significant carries as well. The Midshipmen don’t throw the ball very often but Greg Jones and Green get most of the targets.

The only way Navy can pull off the upset is to control the clock and keep the Notre Dame offense off the field. Navy does not score enough to get into an offensive shootout with the Irish. If the Irish go ahead early it could be a long day for Navy as their offense is not designed to come back from large deficits. The Irish defense could be a question mark as they ahve not played a running game as strong as Navy’s yet, so it will be an interesting game between two long time rivals that have played every year since 1927.

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