Landover, MD (SportsNetwork.com) – Everett Golson accounted for six touchdowns
and No. 6 Notre Dame survived a scare from longtime rival Navy on Saturday.
The Midshipmen gave the Fighting Irish everything they could handle but came
up short in a 49-39 final at FedExField.
While they may not have impressed the playoff committee with another close win
over an unranked opponent, the Irish (7-1) nevertheless stayed in the national
title conversation. They were 10th in the committee’s first rankings this week
despite being ranked sixth in the AP poll.
Golson threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and added three scores on the
ground, while Tarean Folston ran for 149 yards and a TD for Notre Dame, which
rebounded from a heartbreaking loss at Florida State two weeks ago.
Keenan Reynolds passed for 118 yards and two touchdowns for Navy (4-5), which
amassed 336 yards rushing against the nation’s 12th best run defense.
Reynolds and the running attack, led by Noah Copeland’s 138 yards, guided the
Midshipmen to 24 straight points en route to taking a 31-28 lead with 4:18
remaining third quarter.
The Irish countered with a 10-play, 70-yard drive to jump back in front.
Golson’s 3-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter was followed by
Reynolds dropping a halfback pass on third down on the ensuing possession.
Navy was forced to punt, and Notre Dame only needed two plays to score again,
as Chris Brown hauled in a 46-yard pass before Folston took a handoff 25 yards
for a touchdown.
A turnover on downs and an interception on the next two Navy possessions gave
the Irish a chance to put the game away, but a pair of missed field goals by
Kyle Brindza kept it a 42-31 game.
Reynolds and Chris Swain hooked up for a 12-yard score with 4:18 remaining,
and after a successful two-point conversion it was a three-point contest.
The Irish recovered the onsides kick, then faced a 3rd-and-6 from the Navy 33-
yard line. Golson found Folston for a 30-yard pickup to move the chains, and
Golson scored on what amounted to a fumblerooski to seal the outcome.
Golson’s first pass of the game was the longest of his career, as he hit C.J.
Prosise in stride deep down the middle and watched the junior wideout shake
off a glancing blow by the safety and take it 78 yards for a touchdown.
Navy ran 10 straight times to reach the Notre Dame 26 on its first touch, then
called for a rare pass that tied things. Reynolds bought time with his legs
and fired on the run to a wide open Thomas Wilson in the end zone.
Three straight Notre Dame touchdowns gave the Irish a 28-7 lead, but Navy
scored the last 10 points of the half to stay close.
Golson sandwiched short touchdown passes to Ben Koyack and William Fuller
with a 5-yard score of his own, but he threw a costly interception that led to
a field goal at the end of the half.
After Demond Brown’s 18-yard touchdown run, George Jamison picked off Golson
deep in Navy territory. Ryan Williams-Jenkins’s 42-yard reception set up
Austin Grebe’s 44-yard field goal on the final play before the break.
Navy controlled the third quarter, as it took the second-half kickoff and went
75 yards in 15 plays. The 7 1/2-minute long drive ended with Geoffrey
Whiteside running it in from 13 yards out.
After forcing Notre Dame to punt for the first and only time, Copeland broke
off a 54-yard run down to the Irish 4. On the next play, Swain punched it in
to give the Midshipmen their first lead at 31-28.
Notre Dame has won four straight against Navy after a 1-3 stretch from 2007-10
… The Irish came in allowing just 19.1 points per game … Notre Dame plays
at Arizona State next Saturday, while Navy visits Oregon State.