Nov. 12, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame simply was too much for Navy to handle once again.
The seventh-ranked Fighting Irish were too big, too fast and too overpowering offensively for the Midshipmen to remain competitive for long Saturday. Notre Dame scored on all three of its second-quarter possessions, including two touchdowns 88 seconds apart, and went on to beat Navy 42-21 to extend its NCAA-record winning streak over the Midshipmen to 42.
Brady Quinn passed for four touchdowns, three to Maurice Stovall, and continued to rewrite the Notre Dame record book, finishing 22-of-31 passing for 284 yards. Darius Walker rushed for 118 yards on 19 carries, his first 100-yard game since opening the season with four straight.
The Irish (7-2) turned to their running game more against Navy (5-4) to keep the Midshipmen from controlling the clock themselves.
“We knew whenever they got the ball they were going to eat up a lot of the clock,” Quinn said. “So we knew our defense was going to be out there for a good amount of time. So not only when we get out there do we need to score and be efficient, (but) we also had some long drives and to give our defense some breaks so they’re not on the field so long.”
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said he was hard on the Irish all week in practice to make sure they wouldn’t let up against Navy.
“You never let them think you’re happy because if they think you are happy then they start to loosen up,” Weis said. “You just keep your foot on their throat the whole time. It was not a good week for them.”
The plan worked as the Irish kept their hopes for a Bowl Championship Series berth alive. They must beat Syracuse and Stanford to be eligible. Navy still needs a win over either Temple or Army to become bowl eligible.
Quinn set the single-season school passing mark with 2,931 yards, breaking the record of 2,753 yards set by Jarious Jackson in 1999. Quinn needs 254 yards passing in Notre Dame’s final two games to pass the school career mark of 7,602 set by Ron Powlus from 1994-97.
Despite that, Quinn wasn’t pleased.
“I should have done better, whether it be mental mistakes or physical things, there’s still lots of room for improvement,” he said. “I was unhappy with the way I performed.”
Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn tries to avoid the tackle of Navy’s Andrew Tattersall as he scrambles in the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Navy coach Paul Johnson was disappointed Quinn had so much time to pass.
“Our big deal is we couldn’t get any pressure on the passer,” Navy coach Paul Johnson said. “They broke off some runs, but basically they were doing about what they wanted.”
Quinn’s three TD passes give him 52 for his career, tying the school mark set by Powlus.
Quinn extended his school record of games with TD passes to 14 straight. He also set a school record by throwing 130 passes without an interception before safety DuJuan Price intercepted his pass at the 12-yard line in the fourth quarter. The old mark was 126 straight set by Carlyle Holiday in 2001 and 2002. It was Quinn’s fifth interception this season.
The main target for Quinn on Saturday was Stovall. He had TD catches of 31, 16 and 10 yards, giving him eight touchdown catches in the past three games. Stovall finished with eight catches for 130 yards. Jeff Samardzija saw his school record streak of games with at least one TD catch end at eight.
Navy linebacker Rob Caldwell, who led Navy with 14 tackles, said the Irish are the best offense he’s seen.
“They’ve got playmakers everywhere,” he said. “They did a great job making plays, I mean you see those guys catching it with one hand, they’ll be playing on Sundays.”
Navy, which entered the game second in the nation in rushing at 282.6 yards a game, finished with 239 yards running on 58 attempts. The Midshipmen played most of the game without Matt Hall, their second leading rusher, because he sprained his left knee on his first carry.
“I think we proved that we can move the ball on anybody,” said Lamar Owens, who led Navy with 62 yards on 26 carries. “It is just up to us not to stop ourselves and not make mistakes and turn the ball over.”
Johnson said despite the lopsided series, it’s a game Navy looks forward to.
“We have a lot of guys who aren’t recruited who come to Navy to have a chance to play Division I football,” he said. “It’s a chance for them to match up against guys who were Parade high school All-Americans and guys who were more highly recruited and sought after. I’m sure a lot of them grow up thinking they could play at Notre Dame.”