Today's game

November 03, 2007|By SANDRA McKEE

Matchup -- Navy (4-4) at Notre Dame (1-7)

Time -- 2:30 p.m.

Site -- Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.

TV -- Chs. 11, 4

Radio -- 1090 AM

Line -- Notre Dame by 3

Series -- Notre Dame leads 70-9-1.

Last meeting -- Notre Dame won, 38-14, on Oct. 28, 2006, at M&T Bank Stadium.

Navy offense vs. Notre Dame defense -- The Navy offense, which leads the country in rushing with 342.9 yards per game, will need every bit of that production along with its season-average 35.8 points per game to end the nation's longest losing streak to one team at 43 games. While Notre Dame's defense has had some of the same troubles the Navy defense has had - the inability to tackle and hold opponents to fewer than 20 points, it has had two weeks to prepare for the Midshipmen. The Fighting Irish are one of eight teams this season who will have rested before facing Navy's triple option - and the Notre Dame coaches have a clear idea of what it takes to stop the Mids - penetration into the backfield. So far, Notre Dame hasn't been good at stopping the run, ranking 93rd in the country, allowing 191.8 yards a game. Will the Irish get their game together? Will Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada run the option to perfection? So far, only the Mids' own mistakes have stopped them from scoring.

Navy defense vs. Notre Dame offense -- Many believe this is the game's key matchup. Navy's struggling defense against Notre Dame's struggling offense. Notre Dame tight end John Carlson said, "Something's going to give this weekend." Navy coach Paul Johnson said the only thing wrong with Notre Dame's offense is that it has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation against some of the toughest defenses. That won't be the case today, as Navy has allowed 40 or more points in each of its past three games and opposing quarterbacks have thrown 19 touchdowns. The Mids come in to this encounter off a 59-52 loss to Delaware, while the Irish lost their most recent game, 38-0, to Southern California. The Mids' safeties have to find a way to take away Notre Dame's outside receivers, and the defensive line has to find a way to stuff Irish running backs James Aldridge (67 carries, 249 yards) and Armando Allen (184 yards). Notre Dame is banking on the Mids not being able to do both. Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green said his unit has "to play better than it ever has before."

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