College Football Preview: Navy (2-5) vs. Notre Dame (7-0)


Notre Dame graphic

Navy vs. Notre Dame, Saturday, Oct. 27; 8:00 pm ET

Navy Midshipmen (2-5, 1-3 AAC) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-0)

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018; 8:00 ET
San Diego County Credit Union Stadium – San Diego, CA

The Navy Midshipmen will meet the #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday night in San Diego. This will be the 92nd meeting of the schools on the gridiron. While the Irish lead the series, 77-13-1, the Mids have kept the game close in four of the last five meetings, taking home a victory in 2016.

Saturday’s game will be a tough challenge for Navy. Offensive woes mixed with uncharacteristic sloppiness have plagued the Midshipmen in 2018. Malcolm Perry’s return to his original slotback position and Garret Lewis’ consistent play under center the last two games have improved Navy’s stats but not their losing record.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, is one of only five remaining teams unbeaten in 2018. While they, too, went through a quarterback change in-season, the transition from first game starter Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book has been flawless. Completing 75% of his passes for 1,151 yards, Book has recorded 11 TDs and only three interceptions. Combined with stellar campaigns from running back Dexter Williams and wide receiver Miles Boykin, Notre Dame’s offense has clicked all year long.

The Irish defense and special teams play have kept in step with the offense. Jerry Tillery has forced three fumbles, ranking sixth in the nation. Julian Love’s three fumble-recoveries is best in the country. Notre Dame’s punter Tyler Newsome averages 46.3 yards per punt, which ranks him sixth nationally.

In short, Notre Dame is a well-rounded, dangerous team. Navy has a tough challenge ahead of them.

Here’s a look at how the programs matchup in the stats. Pay special attention to the individual numbers. That’s where the costliest of differences for Navy exist.

The Numbers

Points per Game: NAVY: 29.1… Notre Dame: 32.6
Rushing Yards: NAVY: 309.4… Notre Dame: 179.1
Passing Yards: NAVY: 78.3… Notre Dame: 248.6
Total Offense: NAVY: 387.7… Notre Dame: 427.7
Penalties/Yards: NAVY: 26/32.6 yards… Notre Dame: 31/40.1 yards
Time of Possession: NAVY: 35:37… Notre Dame: 28:27


Navy Leaders:
1.) Malcolm Perry: 729 yards
2.) Nelson Smith: 307 yards

Notre Dame Leaders:
1.) Dexter Williams: 370 yards
2.) Tony Jones, Jr.: 314 yards


Navy Leaders:
1.) Garret Lewis: 346 yards
2.) Malcolm Perry: 185 yards

Notre Dame Leaders:
1.) Ian Book: 1,151 yards
2.) Brandon Wimbush: 589 yards


Navy Leaders:
1.) Taylor Jackson: 198 yards
2.) CJ Williams: 148 yards

Notre Dame Leaders:
1.) Miles Boykin: 512 yards
2.) Chris Finke: 305 yards


Navy Leaders:
1.) Hudson Sullivan: 45 tackles; 1 tackle for loss
2.) Taylor Heflin: 44 tackles; 4 tackles for loss

Notre Dame Leaders:
1.) Te’von Comey: 56 tackles; 5.5 tackles for loss
2.) Drue Tranquill: 46 tackles; 6.0 tackles for loss

Notre Dame Players to Watch

  • Dexter Williams: After missing the first four games of the season serving a suspension, Williams has taken the Notre Dame rushing lead in just three games. Along with his 370 yards, the running back has four TDs on his 51 carries. Williams averages 7.3 yards per carry.
  • Miles Boykin: Leading the Irish receivers with 32 catches, Boykin’s 512 yards have produced four TDs.
  • Chris Finke and Alize Mack: Both have 25 catches this season.
  • Chase Claypool: With 23 catches, Claypool has taken three into the end zone.
  • Te’von Coney: Leading the team with 56 tackles, Coney has 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
  • Drue Tranquill: Six tackles for loss are included in Tranquill’s 46 tackles this season.
  • Alohi Gilman: The Navy transfer has 38 tackles for Notre Dame this year, two of them for loss.

Keys to a Navy Win

1.) Career Games: Navy players, plural, must have career games. Malcolm Perry, Garret Lewis, Ford Higgins, CJ Williams, Jarid Ryan, Elan Nash and Sean Williams, any or all of them must step up and perform on the gridiron better than they have ever done before. No pressure.

2.) Advantage Takers: Navy must take advantage of every mistake Notre Dame makes. Yes, every. Playing a clean game, penalty-wise, will not be enough for the Midshipmen to prevail. They must force Notre Dame to make errors and make greedy use of every Fighting Irish slip-up.


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Chloe Stowe

Full-time novelist and blogger, Chloe Stowe loves to spin a tale almost as much as she loves her Nats and Navy sports (on Twitter, she's the #NavyMaven and #curlyWchick). This season will be her first as the Director of Nationals Coverage for the Maryland Sports Blog.

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