Notre Dame football continued its pursuit of a College Football Playoff berth with a dominant victory over Navy.
It wasn’t a good start for the Notre Dame football team on Saturday night. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Irish looked like they just might think about allowing Navy to hang around.
On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Ian Book hit Miles Boykin on an underneath route, and as Boykin tried to churn out yardage after the catch, he fumbled. Navy recovered and the Irish looked to be in a little bit of early trouble.
The defense, however, solved those troubles.
After taking over at the Notre Dame 36, Navy was unable to take advantage of the Irish miscue. Navy was unable to convert on 4th and 2 and turned the ball back over to the Irish. From there, Notre Dame moved the ball 73 yards on 8 plays to go ahead 6-0. The Irish simply never looked back.
It was the Notre Dame running game that allowed the Irish to move the ball seamlessly throughout the first half. Dexter Williams lead the Irish throughout the half and scored 3 touchdowns. Jafar Armstrong scored the other touchdown of the half for the Irish and Notre Dame took a 27-0 lead into halftime.
In all, Williams carried the ball 23 times for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Jafar Armstrong returned from injury to add 9 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. Armstrong also added 5 catches for 64 yards.
Ian Book wasn’t half-bad, either. On the night, he completed 27 passes on 33 attempts for 330 yards and 2 scores.
As well as the Irish played in the first half, Navy wouldn’t go away without a fight. The Midshipmen sandwiched a Notre Dame field goal with two touchdowns of their own to make the score 30-14. However, the Irish responded with a 9-play, 75-yard drive to go up 37-14.
The Irish looked to have the game in control after forcing a three-and-out on Navy’s next offensive series, but an Ian Book interception put Navy back in business. The Midshipmen went 39 yards in just two plays to the endzone on a 33-yard scamper by fullback Mike Martin and added a two-point conversion to make the score 37-22.
But the Midshipmen would get no closer than that, as Williams and Armstrong led the Irish into the redzone before Book hit Boykin for another touchdown to put the Irish ahead 44-22. From there, the Irish were finally able to cruise to the victory.
Notre Dame moves to 8-0 on the season with the victory and leave San Diego relatively healthy, minus the injury sustained to Drue Tranquill. Notre Dame’s starting linebacker left the game in the first quarter after getting his leg caught under a Navy offensive lineman. According to reports, Tranquill’s injury is a high ankle sprain. That comes as good news for the Irish, as the injury looked like it could have been more serious at first glance.