Mids Set to Travel to South Bend for Gridiron Matchup Against Notre Dame
Oct. 28, 2013
Setting the Stage
Navy and Notre Dame will meet for the 87th time when the two square off on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium (80,795) in South Bend, Ind. at 3:30 pm.
Saturday's game will be televised by NBC with Dan Hicks (play-by-play), Mike Mayock (color) and Alex Flanagan (sideline) on the call.
The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 1:30 pm with Graham Whaples and Joe Miller.
The Navy Football Pregame Show with Pete Medhurst, Omar Nelson and Joe Miller will get underway at 2:30 pm, followed by game action at 3:30 pm on the Navy Radio Network.
Following the contest, Miller, Medhurst and Whaples will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1500 AM.
The tailgate show, the pregame show, the game and the postgame show are also available over the internet to Navy All-Access subscribers.
Sloan's 30-yard Field Goal Leads Navy To Upset Win Over Pitt
(AP) - One week after missing an extra point in the second overtime that cost his team, Navy kicker Nick Sloan redeemed himself against Pittsburgh.
Sloan booted a 30-yard field-goal as time expired that gave the Midshipmen a 24-21 victory over the Panthers.
Navy (4-3) snapped a two-game losing streak and needs just two wins to become eligible for a bowl game.
Navy finally got into a rhythm in the second half and put together their most impressive drive of the game to take a 14-13 lead with 14:28 left in the game.
Reserve fullback Quinton Singleton's 9-yard scoring run capped the 16-play, 91-yard scoring drive that took 8:15 off the clock. The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter before Sloan kicked the game-winner.
Tom Savage completed 20 of 27 pass attempts for 203 yards and two touchdowns for Pitt (4-3).
Pittsburgh's Devin Street caught nine passes for 96 yards with a touchdown and became the school's all-time leading receiver.
Trailing 14-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Savage threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to freshman Tyler Boyd to give the Panthers a 20-14 lead. Street then caught a short pass for the 2-point conversion.
Navy responded on the ensuing possession and tied the game on a 10-play, 71-yard drive capped by a 2-yard run by quarterback Keenan Reynolds with 3:53 left in the game.
The Midshipmen then forced a 3-and-out on the Panthers' next possession and got the ball at Pitt's 49. Navy ran 11 plays to set up Sloan's game-winning kick.
Navy entered the game ranked sixth in the nation with 304.2 rushing yards per game, and managed 220 against the Panthers.
Scouting Notre Dame
Notre Dame owns a 6-2 record and is coming off a 45-10 destruction of Air Force. The Irish have won three straight games since a 35-21 loss to Oklahoma. Notre Dame's only other loss was a 41-30 defeat at the hands of Michigan. Meanwhile the Irish have victories over Temple (28-6), Purdue (31-24), Michigan State (17-13), Arizona State (37-34) and USC (14-10).
Navy won three out of four from Nore Dame from 2007-10, but has dropped the last two games by a combined score of 116-24.
The Irish are led on offense by senior quarterback Tommy Rees, who has completed 136 of his 246 pass attempts (.553) for 1,944 yards with 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His favorite targets are senior wide receiver TJ Jones (44 catches for 631 yards and six touchdowns), junior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (30 catches for 463 yards and four touchdowns) and junior tight end Troy Niklas (20 catches for 328 yards and five touchdowns). Freshman wide receiver Corey Robinson (five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown) is the son of Navy basketball and NBA great David Robinson.
Junior running back Cam McDaniel leads the Notre Dame rushing attack with 417 yards and two touchdowns on 91 carries, while junior running back George Atkinson III has rushed for 381 yards and two touchdowns on 70 carries.
Defensively, senior Carlo Calabrese leads the Irish with 55 tackles, five tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery, while senior linebacker Dan Fox has recorded 49 tackles, three tackles for a loss, an interception and a fumble recovery.
The Irish have lost just two fumbles all year, which ranks fourth nationally. They are ranked 11th nationally in passing yards per completion (14.49), 12th in turnovers lost (8), 13th in sacks allowed (0.88 per game), 20th in kickoff returns (24.76) and 20th in fourth down defense (.308).
Individually, Rees ranks seventh in passing TD's (20) and 12th in passing yards per completion (14.29), while Atkinson III ranks 20th in kickoff returns (27.3).
Navy Quick Hitters
Since 2003, Navy has won 21 games against schools from a BCS conference. The 21 wins against BCS schools during that time period, which have come against 10 different schools, are the most in the country by a non-BCS school during that time frame.
Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo is just the third coach in school history to start his coaching career at Navy with a 5-0 record against Army. Paul Johnson turned in a 6-0 mark against West Point (2002-07), while 2013 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Hardin won his first five games (1959-63) before losing on his sixth try.
Navy has been dominant against the other two Service Academies, winning 20 of the last 22 contests (.909) dating back to the 2002 Army-Navy game. Over that time period, the Mids are 11-0 against Army and 9-2 against Air Force.
The Mids own an 87-48 (.644) record over the last 11 years after posting a 3-30 (.091) mark from 2000-02. The 87 wins are the 23rd most in the country over that time period.
Niumatalolo has led the Midshipmen to a 44-29 (.603) record in his six seasons as the head coach and is fourth all-time at Navy in career wins. Additionally, he holds Navy coaching records for most wins in the first two (18), three (27), four (32) and five seasons (40) of a career.
Niumatalolo joins Eddie Erdelatz (1956-57) and Hall of Fame coach Wayne Hardin (1960-61) as the only coaches in school history to beat Notre Dame in back-to-back years. Hardin is the only Navy coach to beat Notre Dame three times.
Niumatalolo led Navy to a 23-21 win over No. 19 Notre Dame in South Bend on Nov. 7, 2009. It marked the first time since 1936 that an unranked Navy team defeated a ranked Notre Dame squad.
Sophomore Keenan Reynolds owns a 10-5 (.667) career record as the starting quarterback with wins over Central Michigan, Indiana (2x), East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Texas State, Army, Delaware, Air Force and Pitt and losses to Troy, Arizona State, Western Kentucky (left with an injury in the second quarter and up 7-3), Duke and Toledo.
Reynolds has led Navy to four fourth-quarter comeback wins over his career (Air Force in 2012, Indiana in 2012, Army in 2012 and Pitt in 2013).
Reynolds is the first Navy quarterback to win his first four career starts since senior Bob Powers, who won his first six starts in 1979. Reynolds was also the first freshman in series history (113 games) to win Army-Navy MVP honors last fall.
Junior guard Jake Zuzek is Navy's most experienced player on offense with 20 career starts, while junior center Tanner Fleming has started 18 times. Senior wide receiver Matt Aiken has started 17 games, while sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds has started 15 career games. Junior fullback Noah Copeland has made 14 starts, while senior wide receiver Shawn Lynch has started 13 times.
Defensively, junior safety Parrish Gaines leads the way with 25 career starts (24 at corner, one at safety), while junior safety Chris Ferguson has made 21 starts. Junior outside linebacker Jordan Drake and seven defensive end Evan Palelei have made 20 career starts, while senior linebacker Cody Peterson has started 15 times and senior safety Wave Ryder has made 12 starts. sophomore corner Kwazel Bertrand has started in 11 games, while senior nose guard Barry Dabney has started 10 games.
On offense, junior guard Jake Zuzek has started 20 consecutive games, while junior center Tanner Fleming has started 17 straight contests and sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds has made 15 consecutive starts.
On defense, junior safety Parrish Gaines has made a start in 25 straight games (24 at corner, 1 at safety), while junior outside linebacker Jordan Drake and senior defensive end Evan Palelei have made 20 straight starts. Senior linebacker Cody Peterson has started 15 consecutive games.
Dating back to the 2011 Army-Navy game, Navy has won seven of its last eight games decided by eight points or less. The Mids are 2-1 this season in close encounters after beating Indiana, 41-35, in the season opener, losing to Toledo, 45-44 in double overtime, and beating Pitt, 24-21.
The Mids are 20-14 (.588) under head coach Ken Niumatalolo in games decided by eight points or less.
Navy has outscored the opposition 38-9 in the first quarter this season.
The Mids have scored a touchdown on the first drive in four of its seven games (Indiana, Delaware, Western Kentucky, Toledo).
The defense has not given up a first-quarter touchdown all year, surrendering just three field goals.
The Red Zone
Navy has scored on 28 of its 32 possessions (.875) in the red zone this year, scoring 23 touchdowns (.719), kicking five field goals, missing two field goals and taking a knee to end the game in Navy's 51-7 victory over Delaware.
The opposition has scored on 19 of its 23 red zone opportunities (.826), scoring 18 touchdowns (.783), kicking a field goal, throwing an interception, stopped on downs once, took a knee once (Duke) and missed a field goal.