The No. 23 ranked Navy Midshipmen (7-1) will head to South Bend to face the No. 16 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-2) this Saturday.
Notre Dame has won seven of the last eight meetings against the Midshipmen, including a 44-22 win last year. This is a very different Navy team than Notre Dame saw last year, however. So who has the edge in this one? Here’s a preview of the game, followed by our prediction.
The Irish are led on offense by senior quarterback Ian Book, who has thrown for 2,009 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Book also has displayed a keen ability to scramble and make plays–he has 390 yards and four scores on the ground so far.
On defense, the Fighting Irish are giving up 19.2 points a game, and have been a relatively stout unit so far. Notre Dame head coach Bryan Kelly said Monday at a press conference that he’s got one major concern against the Midshipmen this year that he didn’t have in 2018:
“Malcolm Perry is a dynamic offensive player,” Kelly said. “I think he’s top 15 in the country in rushing and he’s the No. 1 rushing quarterback in the country. A dynamic, explosive player. Last year he played slot against us. He didn’t play quarterback. Now back at the quarterback position he’s precise, very secure with the football. He’s a point guard, distributing, making really good decisions. Very difficult to defend.” Notre Dame will certainly be tested against this tough Navy team.
The Midshipmen are coming off a bye week after winning five straight, their most recent victory a 56-10 domination of Connecticut. They will look to continue their streak Saturday. Navy will be led by senior quarterback Malcolm Perry, who is a definite double threat. Perry has 722 yards passing and five touchdowns on the year, but his strength has been running the football.
He has 1,042 yards on the ground to go with 16 rushing touchdowns, and he is a huge reason why Navy is the best rushing team in the nation. In fact, there have been only two games all season in which Perry hasn’t gone over 100 yards rushing. He could certainly be a thorn in Notre Dame’s side.
On defense, Navy will be led by Jacob Springer, who leads the team with seven sacks on the season. Springer and this Midshipmen defense are a much improved unit from 2018, and they’re currently the No. 17th ranked defense in the nation. If they play their best ball, they could give Book fits all day.
Trends, Pick and Prediction:
Spread: Navy +7
Over/Under: 54 points
Odds Shark currently has Navy winning by a projected score of 32-30, with the Midshipmen covering the spread and the total going over. Some relevant trends surrounding this game according to Odds Shark:
• Navy is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 5 of Navy’s last 6 games.
• The Midshipmen are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games.
• Navy is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against Notre Dame.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Notre Dame’s last 5 games.
• Notre Dame is 17-3 SU in their last 20 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 7 of Notre Dame’s last 9 games against Navy.
• Notre Dame is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games this season.
Look for this to be a close, hard fought battle between two very good teams. We think Notre Dame has the slight edge at home, but it’s worth taking Navy with the points.
Final Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Navy 24