It’s not always the scoring plays that make a game and that was once again the case as Notre Dame went on to defeat Navy, 34-6 in South Bend. Here is a look at which plays made a difference today and beyond for the Irish.
1st quarter, 8:01 left on clock
SOUTH BEND, IN – OCTOBER 23: TaRiq Bracy #28 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates a turnover during the second half against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 23, 2021 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
After Navy ran a misdirection end-around, cornerback Tariq Bracy went to make the tackle. Unfortunately he had to leave field with arm injury and was seen on the sidelines in a bit of pain. The Midshipmen don’t throw the ball a lot so his injury won’t matter much this game, but could be a big factor later on in the year.
2nd quarter, 12:18 left on the clock
SOUTH BEND, IN – NOVEMBER 06: Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball as Anthony D’Angelo #51 of the Navy Midshipmen tries to make the shoe string tackle during the first half at Notre Dame Stadium on November 6, 2021 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
The Irish hadn’t really gotten the offense going and are down 3-0 early in the quarter. A big 3rd and 5 situation, quarterback Jack Coan finds tight end Michael Mayer on a short route and Baby Gronk does the rest. He rumbles for 14-yards and on the next play Coan would find a streaking Kevin Austin for a 38-yard bomb. The drive would stall in the red zone but the Irish do get 3-points and tie the game.
3rd quarter, 1:53 left on the clock
Nov 6, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Navy Midshipmen quarterback Tai Lavatai (1) is sacked by Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Jayson Ademilola (57) in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
The Midshipmen had just cut the Irish lead to a single score at 17-6 and forced a 3-and-out. After two Midshipmen runs that netted 3 total yards the Notre Dame defense faced a 3rd and 5 which was stuffed by linebacker JD Bertrand. The Irish would get the ball back and keep the lead at 11 points.
4th quarter, 10:55 left on the clock
Notre Dame wide receiver Avery Davis (3) runs against Navy in the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
This happened to be a scoring play, another amazing run by Kyren Williams, but it was the blocking of Avery Davis that was the impact. Davis was hurt blocking on the score and the magnitude of his injury could be large. He was taken to the injury tent and it did not look good, non-contact knee injuries never do. With Joe Wilkins Jr. out for the year and Lawrence Keys leaving the program, the receiver room just got a bit thinner if Davis is out for a significant amount of time.
4th quarter, 6:58 left on the clock
Image courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Yes, most likely Navy would not mount a comeback against the Irish but in college football, you never know. The Midshipmen like to go for it on fourth down, especially in shorter situations but this one was a must go. They had completed their first pass in eight quarters earlier but this attempt by Xavier Arline to Carlinos Acie would be broken up by Irish safety Isaiah Pryor and would essentially close the game out for Notre Dame.