Gambling Midshipmen go for broke Win game of clock, if nothing else

November 01, 1992|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY — EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Navy's offense this season could best be described as conservative, but against 10th-ranked Notre Dame coach George Chaump had his Midshipmen taking risks.

On a fourth-and-one play on Navy's first possession, Chaump had his team attempt to convert from the Navy 49-yard line. The Midshipmen were unsuccessful, but that play set the tone, as Navy converted three of five fourth-down plays.

"I normally wouldn't do it that much, but why not take chances in a game like this," Chaump said. "I know if I punted the ball, they had enough weapons to drive 90 yards. We wanted to try to keep the ball and eat up some clock."

Navy did end the game with an edge in time of possession -- 30:29 to Notre Dame's 29:31. But not enough of an edge to stay close.

N.D.'s Brooks makes it count

When Reggie Brooks, Notre Dame's senior tailback, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Rick Mirer in the second quarter, it was his first reception of the season and just the second reception of his collegiate career. Despite leaving the game after Notre Dame's first drive of the second half, Brooks finished with 20 carries for 95 yards (78 yards in the first half).

A hit on defense and offense

Jeff Burris, Notre Dame's strong safety and the team's second-leading tackler, is also a hit on offense. Burris scored Notre Dame's first touchdown on a 5-yard run in the first quarter. It was the sixth carry of the season for Burris, who has three rushing touchdowns.

Bettis heads for the stretch

Notre Dame played without starting fullback Jerome Bettis, who has 642 yards rushing and nine touchdowns this season. Bettis was slightly injured in last week's game against Brigham Young, and Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is trying to save him for the stretch run during which the Fighting Irish play Boston College, Penn State and USC.

A loss of concentration

The Fighting Irish were penalized seven times for 64 yards. One offensive pass interference penalty in the third quarter cost Notre Dame a touchdown on its first possession of the second half.

"We had a lot of penalties -- we had three motion penalties, and that showed me that we weren't concentrating," Holtz said.

The Notre Dame Giants

Notre Dame is 8-0 at Giants Stadium, with five of those victories against Navy. The Midshipmen are 1-5 at The Meadowlands, with the victory against Army in 1989.

Smallest crowd

The announced ticket sales of 58,769 (attendance was well below that) was the smallest crowd that Notre Dame has played before at Giants Stadium, and marked just the fourth time in five years that Notre Dame has played before a less-than-capacity crowd. Three of those four games have been played against Navy (1988, 1990 and yesterday). The other game was last year at Stanford, when 70,798 fans attended at 85,500-seat Stanford Stadium.

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