Notre Dame football (6-3) will make the trip to Baltimore this weekend to face Navy (3-6) at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens.
With Notre Dame fresh off a victory against the number 4 ranked Clemson Tigers, they look to keep the momentum rolling against an always-tough Navy team. Marcus Freeman knows firsthand how tricky the Navy option can be to defend, thanks to his time at Cincinnati. As the defensive coordinator, Freeman’s Bearcats defense gave up just under 600 yards on the ground.
Notre Dame football – What to watch for
This game is trending towards a battle on the ground, with neither team that effective through the air this year. Drew Pyne has his share of struggles as quarterback for the Irish, while Navy is known to primarily run the ball thanks to the triple option. Occasionally they’ll catch you sleeping, but for the most part, if you stop the run, you win the game. With Brandon Joseph trending toward sitting this one out, Freeman has some big shoes to fill in the secondary.
Look for Tommy Rees to try and get the passing game rolling a bit more this week. While it didn’t seem to be in the cards against Clemson, I fully expect Tommy to try and right the ship through the air. It’ll be tough to beat teams moving forward by running the ball 46 times a game and only completing 9 of 17 passes.
Notre Dame football – Prediction
Notre Dame takes this one by 2 touchdowns. This is me being very conservative but also understanding neither team has a “quick strike” offense. It’ll be a struggle on the ground for much of the game, and Drew Pyne will still have trouble moving the ball through the air. I wouldn’t consider myself a pessimist, but I need to see more in the passing attack to trust things will change. I can’t wait to watch Pyne and Rees prove me wrong.
With Brandon Joseph doubtful for the game, Marcus Freeman and Al Golden must ensure they spend extra time preparing the safeties. I’d argue a safety is just as important in reading the option as a linebacker. They have the best view of the play and are the last line of defense should someone in the middle of the play get fooled entirely, which happens.
After the highest high of the season, a loss against Navy would undoubtedly be in contention for the lowest low. Notre Dame needs to play with severe intensity and not let down throughout the game. Go, Irish.