Jacksonville Sports Day

Navy Snaps Five Game Losing Skid to Irish with 28-27 Win

Photo by Notre Dame Athletics

The University of Notre Dame fell to 3-6 on the season with a 28-27 loss to Navy (6-2) in the 90th consecutive meeting between the two schools at EverBank Field in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon.

Navy QB Will Worth ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the latest edition of the nation’s longest-running intersectional rivalry played before an announced crowd of 50,867.

Running backs Calvin Cass Jr. and Darryl Bonner each added rushing touchdowns as the Midshipmen compiled 320 rushing yards to go along with 48 passing yards.

Notre Dame cut the Navy lead to one point with 7:28 left in the fourth quarter, but the Midshipmen were able to run out the clock on a drive that included a first-down run on fourth and inches with 4:32 remaining and a first-down pass on fourth and six with 1:19 left to earn the victory.

Worth’s one-yard touchdown run at 11:51 of the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner.

Notre Dame scored on its first drive of the game, as DeShone Kizer hit Torii Hunter Jr. for a 26-yard touchdown pass on first and 20 from the Navy 26. The Midshipmen answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped by Darryl Bonner’s 16-yard touchdown run.

Hunter led all receivers in the game with eight receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.

The Irish pulled back into a 10-7 lead on a Justin Yoon 39-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter. Notre Dame’s defense then came up with a fourth down stop at its own 45-yard line, but the Irish offense could not capitalize and was forced to punt after three plays.

Navy regained momentum with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Worth touchdown plunge to take a 14-10 lead. This time, the Irish would answer with a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ate up 7:53 of game time and ended with an eight-yard touchdown catch by tight end Durham Smythe.

The first half started with another Navy scoring drive to put them back into the lead 21-17. With the pressure, back on the Irish offense, Kizer and the crew responded with a scoring drive and a clutch touchdown catch by Equanimeous St. Brown on 3rd and six from the Navy 13-yard line.

Finally getting the ball back, the Irish drove down the field on the arm of Kizer, including a 20-yard completion to Kevin Stepherson to set Notre Dame up with a first down on the Navy 20-yard line.

Two incompletions later, Stepherson snagged an errant throw across the middle with one hand to pick up six yards on third and 10. Facing fourth and four at the Navy 14-yard line, the Irish elected to kick a field goal to cut the lead to one point.

Navy would run out the rest of the time in the game after the kickoff, including two big fourth down conversions, to end the game.

After a James Onwualu tackle for loss on first down with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter, Navy ended up facing a fourth and six at its own 40-yard line, trailing 24-21. The Midshipmen decided to punt, but the Irish were caught on a replay review with 12 men on the field.

After the yardage adjustment to fourth and one, Navy converted, drove the rest of the field and scored the game-winning touchdown.

The Notre Dame defense was, at times, able to hold Navy to some fourth down decisions, but were unable to get off the field at key times. In the final drive, as Navy drained the final 7:28 off the game clock, the Midshipmen converted a fourth and one along with a fourth and six.

Worth finished with his fourth straight 100-yard rushing performance and fifth of the season.

GAME NOTES: The Middies are bowl eligible again, improving to 23-5 in their last 28 games. Three of those losses came against ranked teams….It was a rare victory in the series for the Midshipmen who beat the Irish for just the fourth time since 1963. Notre Dame had won five in a row against Navy…Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo tied a school record with his third career victory against the Fighting Irish after wins in 2009 and 2010. Niumatalolo matched former Navy coach Wayne Hardin, who beat Notre Dame in 1960, 1961 and 1963…Notre Dame¬†DeShone Kizer completed 19 of 27 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Fighting Irish

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